SSDI Case Approval Rates by State

By Brad Myler J.D.

SSDI Approval Rates Vary Widely Between States. Every day people who are disabled and unable to work ask us about their eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and they want to know what their chances are of being approved for benefits when they apply. There are no simple answers because the state in which you live has jurisdiction over disability awards, and the decisions are up to an administrative law judge. A Social Security Legal Service familiar with the laws, the politics, and the administrative processes involved can greatly improve the chances your application will be approved… -Continue reading after infographic

Best and Worst States for Social Security Applications

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Very few applications for SSDI are approved upon initial submittal. Statistics released by the SSA in June,2013 show that 65 percent of initial applications are declined. When declined applications are appealed, and reach the hearing level, the denial rate is an average 46 percent nationwide. In simple terms, there is less than a 50/50 chance of of being awarded disability benefits according to SSA. Depending the state where you live, however, awards can be significantly above or below this average.


Residents of Delaware, Kansas, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas and Wisconsin have a 30-40 percent chance of being approved by SSDI. Alaska residents win only 17 percent of the time.


New Jersey, New Mexico and Tennessee residents reaching the hearing level have 55-56 percent odds of a successful award of SSDI benefits.

In Hawaii and Utah, and in the Territory of Puerto Rico, over 60 percent of people whose application reaches the appeal level receive SSDI awards, a significant improvement over the national 46 percent average. Approval rates still vary within states, depending on the site of the hearings and the assigned judges who decide the cases.


There are a number of things an applicant can do that will have a positive influence on approval rates. One of the most important elements of a successful outcome is good documentation. You should be able to show:

• Consistent treatment of your disability by a qualified medical doctor
• Objective proof of your physical disabilities
• Documented proof of any mental impairments
• Records of any prescribed treatments and pharmaceuticals
• Statements by physicians regarding your ability to perform work functions

Uninsured applicants, people who have financial difficulties, and others who may be inexperienced in the process of seeking disability compensation will have lower success rates. Seeking a qualified Social Security Legal Service will ensure that you have the best chance of winning the benefits you deserve. We will help you get free or reduced cost medical care in your area, and assist you in obtaining the medical records and opinions to prepare you for your SSDI hearing. We are familiar with your locale and in most cases, we know the judges who decide these cases. It is our goal to make sure you have the best possible chance at success.