Despite its purpose of helping people, the Social Security Administration is about as warm and fuzzy as the IRS. It is, for many, a faceless, bureaucratic giant.
You are not alone if you received a perfunctory denial for Social Security Disability, nor is it necessarily the end of the road. You might have a chance to get the support you need, depending on the details of your case.
Benefits denials by the numbers
You can see the benefits award and allowance rates creeping down — or, in some sub-populations, plummeting — as the years go by. Overall award rates In 1999 were about 25% higher than they were in 2019.
To make matters more complex, there are various types of denials and non-awards. There are even denials after awards. That is when the SSA rejects you for nonmedical reasons after it determines that you meet the medical severity criteria. You would be well within your rights to be confused and frustrated if you were on the receiving end of that type of decision.
Timeframes for denials
Another important factor is the wait. Wait times are getting longer, and denials slow things down even more.
Your case might take more or less time depending on its complexity. If you ended up in federal court, which is not very common, your case might take over three years. If, on the other hand, your first appeal was successful, the average would be about one year and one month.
If you have a disability, the SSA should be there for you — after you navigate the paperwork labyrinth. However, at the end of the day, valid applications tend to get approvals when combined with perseverance, knowledge and meticulous preparation.