Skip to main content

What are the percentages of winning a favorable decision after the hearing stage in a disability case?

Richmond, VA |

I heard that a vast majority of applicants give up by the time of the hearing stage. But what is the percentage for those getting a favorable ruling after the disability hearing? I hear or read that most people win on appeal.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    My esteemed colleague has provided you with an excellent resource. Your attorney should be in the best position to assess your chances given your case facts, which judge you saw, how the hearing went, etc. You should consult with your attorney about how it went.

    In addition, please note that recent nationwide statistics from the Social Security Administration show that:

    a) Initial Applications are denied approximately 65% of the time and these take 3-4 months on average.

    b) Requests for Reconsideration (the first appeal) are denied about 78% of the time and these also take 3-4 months.

    c) Hearings before a Social Security ALJ (the second appeal) are approved about 65% of the time - the wait to get to a hearing varies greatly depending on which hearing office you are dealing with (they time varies from 10 to 24 months), in our area the current wait is approximately 16 months (it has been as high as 25 months in the past five years).

    Disclaimer Information on this site is provided by Brian Scott Wayson as general information, not legal advice, and use of this information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you have questions about your specific situation, please call an attorney.


  2. It really depends on the facts of the case and the judge. A few years ago, a FOIA request led to the production of the win/loss percentages of each Social Security administrative law judge in the country.

    You can search for win/loss ratios through the website below:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/special/index.ssf/2008/12/social_security_database.html


  3. My colleagues have given you great advice. There are also several other important factors which have a bearing on the success of your case. Your age, your past work experience, and your education. Another, unfortunate fact is that if your case goes to a hearing, depending upon the judge you get, your chances of success can range anywhere from 30% - 95%. That is why it is very important to have an attorney represent you. They will know the Judges and will present your case in a way that gives you the best chance in front of that particular Judge. I always tell my clients, if I take your case I can't guarantee you a win, but if you don't apply, I can guarantee you won't get any benefits.

    Actual legal advice can only be provided by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law regarding your question. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.


  4. Administrative Law Judge Disposition data can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/appeals/DataSets/03_ALJ_Disposition_Data.html

    Of course, the result of any claim will depend upon the evidence presented.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.