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Social Security Disability Benefits Harder to Get

It is getting harder to obtain Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, despite claims from opponents of federal benefit programs. If you listened to the foes of Social Security without checking the facts, you would probably think that SSD benefits are given to anyone who walks in the door. Nothing could be further from the truth, as revealed by statistical information released by the Social Security Administration.

SSD and SSI initial approvals declining

In fact, the percentage of applications approved by SSD is gradually declining. In 1999, 56 percent of all disability claims resulted in benefit awards. In the subsequent decade, that number declined to 34.8 percent. These numbers paint a far different picture from the one promoted by those who would like Social Security to fail.

This picture is the same if you look at approvals after requests for reconsideration. In 1999, 13.5 percent of requests for reconsideration were approved. By 2010, that percentage had declined to 6.3 percent. During the same time period, the number of medical denials increased, from 12.9 percent to 17.4 percent.

In addition to the striking national decline in award rates, new Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) appear to be declining disability claims at a higher rate than their experienced counterparts. In fact, the data shows that ALJs hired after the 2010 fiscal year deny approximately 47% of the disability claims they review, making their award percentage 4 points lower than national average. If this trend continues, the award rate may continue to plunge.

Get help from experienced SSD advocates

The outcome of Social Security claims is important and often life-changing for those whose disabilities prevent them from earning an income. In a time when disability claims are being denied more and more, the biggest advantage an individual can give themselves is the advantage of experience. At Binder & Binder®, we have that experience. Despite the decline in favorable disability awards nationally, Binder & Binder® continues to be America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates.

Sources: Social Security Administration, "Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2011"; "ALJ Disposition Data, 2013."

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