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How hard is it to secure SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2022 | SSDI

Getting hurt in the prime of your career or diagnosed with a serious medical condition might make you feel like you have very few options in life. Especially if you can no longer work because of outside support to maintain your household and financial independence.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are available for those who have made sufficient contributions to the program throughout their working lives. However, many people who might struggle without support assume that they won’t get SSDI benefits even if they apply.

How likely are you to get SSDI when you need help?

Most applicants don’t get benefits

The unfortunate truth about SSDI is that the standard for qualifying is very high. With a few notable exceptions, applicants usually need to show that their condition completely prevents them from working. They also need medical evidence that it will last for at least a year or possibly for the rest of their lives.

Even people who might qualify can make mistakes on their paperwork or may submit insufficient evidence to the Social Security Administration (SSA) when they apply, which means they either don’t get approved or have to appeal to get benefits. Only about one in five applicants will get benefits when they initially apply.

Based on data from between 2010 and 2019, the SSA usually approves roughly 21% of applicants at the time of initial submission. Many people who might qualify have to appeal to get benefits. Another 10% of applicants get approved upon appeal.

approval rate of roughly 31%, although individual years well obviously deviate from that average. Just under one in three applicants will eventually get the benefits that they believe they need to pay their bills until they reach retirement age.

Is applying even worthwhile?

While a 31% approval rate may seem abysmal, it is high enough to justify the investment required to apply for benefits. Additionally, the 10% approval rate during the appeals process makes it apparent how worthwhile appealing an unfavorable ruling could be.

One in 10 applicants will get their benefits when they appeal instead of when they apply. Appealing not only increases your chance of approval, but it may increase the benefits that you receive. Those delayed by a rejection and later approved on appeal can get backdated SSDI benefits in a lump sum at the end of the process.

Learning more about what happens when you apply for SSDI benefits can help those who need financial support.