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How to Increase Your Chances of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case by 30%

Social Security disability (SSDI / SSI) benefits can be very difficult to obtain and requires navigating the Social Security Administration's confusing rules for proving you are disabled. But as the data charts below indicate, there is one thing that can increase your chances of winning by 30%: an attorney.

Yes, this is a somewhat self-serving post, because full-disclosure, I am a disability attorney, but the data doesn't lie. Reviewing the tables below for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) only claims (as I call earned disability), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) only claims (welfare disability) and concurrent claims (both SSDI and SSI), it is clear there is roughly a 30% increase favorable decisions (winning decisions) when there is an attorney.

Let me give you the quick definitions:

Dismissal - usually means the claimant (you) failed to show up to a hearing and the judge dismissed your case. This often happens because you did not get your mail, or failed to keep your address up to date with SSA.

Unfavorable - you went forward with your case and lost.

Fully Favorable - you won your case AND they found you disabled all the way back to the initial date you claim you became disabled (i.e. more money!).

Partial Favorable - you won your case BUT they did not find you disabled as far back in time as you hoped, so they gave you less money than you asked for :-/.

Title II only - This is just code for SSDI only cases.

Title XVI only - This code for SSI only cases.

Title II and Title XVI - SSDI and SSI cases.

So take a look at just the first table for SSDI cases:

So as we look at the data, we see people without representation had about 55% dismissal rates. FIFTY-FIVE PERCENT! More than 1/2 of people just didn't see their case to the finish, they just gave up! But if you look at with representation, it is less than 10%. This is likely due to the fact that you won't have that mail problem, and your attorney can make sure all deadlines are met, so your case won't be dismissed. But why still 10% and not 0%? Because sometimes our clients disappear on us also, and sometimes we advise our clients that the best option is to allow their case to be dismissed (why? That's for a different post).

Now, let's look at the real numbers we care about. Unfavorable, Fully Favorable and Partial Favorable. Regardless of whether you have an attorney or not, for SSDI only claims, you have a 30% chance of being denied, but remember, all those people who were dismissed were essentially denied as well, so there's a LOT more people on disability who had a lawyer than people who did not.

But the real numbers we care about are the favorable outcomes. Without an attorney, your chance of getting everything you asked for is less than 15% and your chances of even getting ANYTHING (partial or fully favorable) is less than 20%. But with an attorney, you chance of winning is about 60%. It's a no-brainer. You will increase your likelihood of winning exponentially if you hire a lawyer.

Now, for SSI-only and concurrent claims, the numbers are a little lower but not by much and the differences in the percentages are about the same. SSI cases just don't perform as well in general, but they still win more often if there's an attorney involved. The other charts are below if you'd like to see.


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