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How hard is it to get SSDI benefits?

When you’re no longer able to work because of a disabling condition, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are supposed to be there to give you some means of support – but everybody tells you that they’re almost impossible to get.

That’s not exactly true. To be certain, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a very restrictive definition of disability, and they don’t make the process easy to get through. However, your odds of a successful claim are probably higher than you think.

Roughly 39% of initial claims in Ohio are approved on the first try

If you’ve heard the rumor that “every claim gets denied” the first time an application for SSDI benefits is made, you’ll be pleased to learn that’s not true. In 2022, for example, 39% of initial claims were approved in Ohio. 

If your claim does get denied the first time around, you have appeal rights. Unfortunately, the approval rates for a Reconsideration Request (which is the first stage of an appeal) are pretty dismal. Nationally, about 90% of those are denied. In Ohio, only 13% were successful in 2022.

If your Reconsideration Request doesn’t result in an approved claim, you can then move on to a Hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). ALJs have the ability to personally approve or deny claims, and they approved 53% of the cases presented to them last year. 

Ultimately, you don’t want to have to go through a lengthy appeals process with your SSDI claim if you can avoid it. That’s why it often helps to have experienced legal guidance early on, so that your claim can be presented in the most favorable light.