When it comes to being successful in submitting a Social Security disability claim, the most important factors are the nature of your medical condition and the severity of your disability.
According to various studies, less than half of individuals who apply for Social Security Disability benefits are actually approved.
Interestingly, surveys show that certain impairments are more difficult to receive benefits for than others. Some of the reasons for lower approval rates include the seriousness of the diagnosis, the prognosis for the individual, and the difficulty in proving that the impairment prevents the individual from working.
At Cottrell Law Office, our social security disability attorneys have extensive experience advocating for disability applicants with a wide range of medical conditions. Our legal team wants to make sure that you have all of the tools and information that you need to bring an effective initial disability claim or to file an appeal of an unfair denial.
Here, we provide an overview of the Social Security disability approval rate for many of the most common medical conditions.
However, we want to emphasize that every claim is unique. If you have any specific questions about your eligibility for SSDI or SSI benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us today.
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Approval Rates for the Most Common Impairments
The impairment with the highest approval rate (68%) is multiple sclerosis. The second highest is cancer (64%). The remaining four common impairments all have approval rates of less than 50 percent: respiratory disorders (47%), osteoarthritis or joint diseases (40%), mood and anxiety disorders (37%) and back problems (34%).
Individuals whose claims are denied initially but request a hearing have slightly higher approval rates for those same impairments: multiple sclerosis (80%), chronic respiratory disorders (66%), osteoarthritis or joint diseases (64%), mood and anxiety disorders (59%) and back problems (63%).
Approval Rates Improve Following a Hearing
It is obvious from surveys that having a hearing on your disability claim, which means having the opportunity to present further evidence to support your disability, increases the likelihood of approval. For example, intellectual disorders have an approval rate of 88% after a hearing. Several other common impairments also have approval rates of more than 50%: congestive heart failure (80%), diabetic neuropathy (77%), stroke-related conditions (76%), cognitive disorders (73%), cognitive disorders (73%), coronary artery disease (71%), chronic liver disease (68%) and fibromyalgia (58%).
Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues can affect an individual’s ability to work in many ways. These can include heart attacks, arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure. Treatment of these various heart conditions can include prescription medication, surgery, and/or exercise and reduced stress. When it comes to disability benefits for these conditions, a social security disability applicant must demonstrate how the condition affects their physical, and even psychological, capacity in a way that is serious enough to keep them from working.
It is probably not surprising, but a cancer diagnosis receives serious consideration by the Social Security Administration. However, applying for social security benefits in the face of a cancer diagnosis can be very complicated. Therefore, it is best to seek the assistance of a social security disability attorney before applying. Depending on the stage of cancer involved, the application may necessitate immediate review.
Chronic Back Pain
Perhaps one of the most common conditions reported by applicants for social security disability benefits is chronic back pain. Back pain itself is not the diagnosed condition, but instead a symptom of a condition. Nevertheless, depending on the severity of the pain, it can have a significant effect on your ability to hold down a full-time job. That can be true regardless of how physical your job duties may be. Some medical conditions that result in chronic back pain are degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, and stenosis. These and other conditions leading to back pain are often treated with surgery or through pain management such as narcotics, physical therapy, and spinal injections.
Mental Health Conditions
All conditions that are eligible for social security disability benefits are not physical. Psychological or mental health conditions may also be eligible for benefits. If a mental health condition affects your ability to work because, for example, you are not able to stay focused for an entire shift, the condition may qualify you for social security disability benefits. Some of the most common mental health conditions approved are depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and intellectual disabilities.
Ways to Prove That You Meet the Definition of Disability
Our disability attorney explains that there are three basic ways to prove that you meet the definition of disability established by the Social Security Administration: (1) meeting a Social Security listing, (2) fitting within a “grid rule,” or (3) proving that your ability to function in a simple, entry-level job is significantly compromised by your condition that you could not reasonably be a reliable employee. However, the easiest and quickest way to be approved for Social Security disability benefits is by meeting a listing.
Why Meeting a Social Security Listing is So Helpful
There several reasons why meeting a listing is the easiest way to be approved for Social Security disability benefits. The SSA listings provide a description of what the agency considers serious medical problems. If you condition meetings one of the conditions listed, then the SSA will assume that your capacity to work is compromised. In that case, you will not be required to offer substantial proof regarding your work capacity.
Summary: An Overview of Medical Conditions for Disability Approval
Many Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplement Security Insurance (SSI) applicants have questions about their likelihood of getting a claim approved for their specific medical condition.
To help claimants to better understand the Social Security disability approval rate, our legal team has put together a quick list of the relevant information:
- Overall SSDI/SSI disability approval rate: 42 percent
- Multiple Sclerosis: 80 percent
- Heart problems: 65 percent to 78 percent
- Cancers (all): 64 percent
- Respiratory conditions: 47 percent
- Asthma: 44 percent
- Arthritis and other joint problems: 40 percent
- Anxiety and related conditions: 37 percent
- Back injuries and other back issues: 34 percent
To be clear, these numbers are based on the best estimates that are put out by the federal government. The data can change somewhat on a year-to-year basis.
The percentage should be taken as general guidance on the overall disability approval rate for specific medical conditions.
How the Cottrell Law Office Can Help with Your Social Security Disability Claim
The Social Security disability claims process is complex.
According to data provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), less than 33 percent of disability claims are initially approved by the agency. However, historical data indicates that another 15 percent are eventually accepted on reconsideration or on appeal. If your disability claim was denied, do not give up — Cottrell Law Office can help. Among other things, our Social Security disability attorneys are prepared to:
- Conduct a free, in-depth analysis of your Social Security disability claim;
- Help you understand your rights and options for appeal;
- Gather additional supporting evidence, including medical records;
- Build a strong, compelling Social Security disability appeal; and
- Represent you in all future hearings and litigation.
We understand that the Social Security disability approval rate can seem inconsistent.
Our Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you make sense of the claims and appeals process. Unfortunately, it is more challenging to get approval for certain types of medical conditions. Still, that is not to say that it is impossible.
Even if you have an unlisted disability or medical issue, we can still help you seek approval for your SSDI or SSI benefits.
Discuss Your Case With Our Social Security Disability Attorneys Today
At Cottrell Law Office, our Social Security disability lawyers fight tirelessly to help clients obtain the full and fair benefits that they rightfully deserve.
If you have questions regarding approval rates or any other Social Security disability matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation.