What are the chances my disability appeal will be approved?
Your chances of success at the appeals level depends on the reason you were first denied.
If you were denied because you didn’t meet the initial requirements
for disability, you will also be denied at the appeals level, with some
exceptions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sometimes finds
that the claimant has failed to meet one or all of the following initial
If you were denied because your condition wasn't considered severe,
and your prognosis or the symptoms of your illness have changed for the
worse, you have a chance at winning on appeal.
Applicants are often denied simply
because they failed to provide the SSA with enough information to
support a favorable decision. To increase your chances of an approval at
the appeals level, you must make sure that the SSA has a complete
medical history dating back to when you first became sick. Examples of the information you need to provide the SSA are:
Even if you provide the SSA with your
complete medical history and supporting documentation, there is still a
high chance that your claim will be denied at the reconsideration level.
If your reconsideration is denied, it is important to request a hearing
by the deadline stated in your denial letter (60 days after receipt of
the letter); otherwise you will be required to start the application
process from the beginning.
For most medical conditions, the most
important item to provide to the SSA is the last one on the list, a
supporting statement from your doctor about the limitations caused by
your medical condition. If you can get your doctor to fill out a form
called a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, you have a much better
chance of winning your appeal, assuming your doctor agrees that your
condition is very limiting. On the RFC form, you doctor would state how
long you can do various activities, such as sitting, standing, and
walking, how much weight you can lift, whether your mental capacities
are limited, and so on. For more information, see our article on residual functional capacity.
by: Melissa Linebaugh, Contributing Author