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Do all applicants for SSDI benefits get rejected at first?

Despite widespread internet access making it easier than ever for people to learn about their rights and government programs, misinformation still seems to spread much more quickly than the truth. For example, people still tend to share a lot of inaccurate information about Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Members of the general public only have a vague idea of how the program works and may therefore fail to properly utilize a system put in place for their protection.

One of the most persistent myths about SSDI benefits is the claim that everyone who applies, even those with debilitating or fatal conditions, face rejection initially. Many potential applicants, intimidated by the idea of an appeals process that could last a year or more, may decide that applying for benefits isn’t worth the effort. However, not every applicant faces immediate rejection after seeking SSDI benefits.

Some people do get approved quickly

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has special programs in place intended to help certain people connect with benefits more quickly. Fast Track processing and compassionate allowance programs can benefit those with particularly debilitating or potentially terminal conditions. Other applicants may need to wait several months to find out whether or not they receive benefits.

According to data provided by the SSA related to claims between 2010 and 2019, roughly 21% of applicants on average will get benefits when they initially submit paperwork. That is approximately one in five of the people who believe they need disability support. Those who do not get approved can then choose to appeal. An average of another 10% of applicants will get benefits during that appeals process. The final approval rate for SSDI benefits averages approximately 31%, which means that just under one in three applicants on average gets benefits.

What does this information mean for applicants?

The myth that no one gets approved at first should not deter someone from applying for SSDI benefits, as there is a small but noteworthy possibility that someone will receive immediate approval when they apply. Even those that do not qualify quickly still have a decent chance of obtaining approval during an appeal.

Understanding the likely outcome of an SSDI benefits claim may give people the motivation and patience necessary to pursue benefits after developing medical issues.