Utah Approval Statistics
Although the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process is the same across all of the United States, there are differences between the states when it comes to approval rates. These approval rates also differ depending on the stage of the application process.
Initial Application Stage
In this context, the “initial application stage” refers to the period of time after you have completed and submitted your first SSDI application. During this period, 36% of Utah applicants are approved for benefits. In other words, a little over a third of SSDI applicants are accepted after their first try. Though 36% might seem discouraging, it is actually higher than the national average. All of the United States combine to produce an average acceptance rate of 32%. This number should not dissuade you from continuing your efforts to secure disability benefits. While the process can be psychologically discouraging, don’t let the denial stop you from applying for reconsideration (the first step in the appeals process).
Statistically, you will be better off appealing your application than filing a whole new application. After they have been rejected for benefits, many people make the mistake of thinking they should start the process over. Understanding that denial is part of the process can help you push forward with your case as it stands. In Utah, 10% of those who apply for reconsideration actually are approved. This number is again comparable to the national average. In the United States, about 11% of those who apply for reconsideration are accepted. Again, this may seem like an even more dismal number. Many deserving Social Security disability applicants drop out at either the initial or the reconsideration stages. But, you should persist, even if you are denied twice.
Administrative Law Judge Hearing Stage
If you are denied at the Request for Reconsideration stage, you will receive notice in writing and you will have 60 days to appeal. During this small window, you should request a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). While you will have to wait several months to actually see the judge, statistically speaking, it may be well worth the wait. At the hearing stage, your chances of approval are significantly higher than they have been at the previous two stages. In Utah, 69% of applicants are approved at this stage. This is higher than the national average, which stands at only 58%. When we counsel you, we typically estimate the waiting period for a hearing to be between 12 and 16 months. The average amount of time Utah citizens wait for hearing is 357 days. The average national wait time is comparable, standing at about 349 days.
Progress at the Hearing Stage
As time goes on, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is becoming more efficient on a national level. Statistics show that despite the increasing amount of applicants between 2008 and 2013, the national average wait time during the Hearing stage has significantly decreased (by about four months). In Utah, the average wait time has not shown any significant change over that period of time. Last year the shortest wait time was recorded at a little over a six months and the longest recorded wait time was seventeen months.
Photo courtesy of: Meg Wills