Social Security Benefits form

Applying for SSDI is a big decision, and after waiting months and months for a decision, you may find a denial letter in your mailbox. However, you are not out of options. Learn what to do after you’ve been denied for SSDI with the help of us at American Disability Action Group.

What Are the Chances Your SSDI Claim Will Be Denied?

If you’ve submitted an initial claim for SSDI and got a denial letter, know that you are in good company. According to our most recent data, only about 35% of initial claims get approved for benefits. 

It can be disheartening for many as they have likely waited months only to get denied, but you are certainly not out of options. In fact, your denial letter should outline the next step in the process known as reconsideration.

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After an Initial SSDI Claim Denial, What is the Next Step?

After you have been denied you can request a reconsideration. This step isn’t likely to get you approved as only about 9% of initially denied claims get approval. This is because it’s the same office, albeit a different examiner, that is making the call.

Just like before, reconsideration isn’t, by any means, your last available option. Though that 9% approval rate sounds like an impossible obstacle, the next step in the process actually has a far higher approval rate. It’s known as an appeal often referred to as an administrative law judge hearing or an ALJ hearing.

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Should You Pursue Your SSDI Claim After You’ve Been Denied For Reconsideration?

Person in a tie reviewing a document with a gavel

At this point, a lot of people have typically given up. Only a small percentage typically go for an appeal which is the next step after reconsideration. This is the stage where a judge gets involved and at this point the approval rate skyrockets to the highest at any point in the process at about 46%.

Keep in mind, that very few of the cases that made it this far are long shots, and these numbers will vary from state to state. Either way, once you account for the people who were discouraged and fell out of the process, just about 50% of SSDI claims get approved at some point in the process. The rest are denied and no longer pursued.

Most people stop here if they receive a denial, but you can continue to an appeals council (with about a 13% success rate), and after that, you can even pursue a federal court review (with a 40% success rate). Very few cases, typically less than 1%, ever make it to federal review due to the time-consuming and often costly nature of pursuing an SSDI claim this far.

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When Should You Get a Lawyer Involved in Your SSDI Claim?

This is a question with no clear-cut answer, which is why at American Disability Action Group believes that you should get a lawyer involved for at least a consultation as early as possible in the process.

How do SSDI Lawyers Get Paid?

SSDI lawyers, at least reputable ones, only seek compensation as a percentage of your back pay. So if your claim and your disability are new or unlikely to be approved, they may not take the case. Luckily, most reputable lawyers, like those at ADA, provide free consultations so that you can make the right decision.