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Social Security Disability Approval Rates by State

Understanding Social Security Disability Approval Rates by State When you’re applying for Social Security Disability through the Social Security Administration, it’s tough to know right away if your application will be accepted. Even if you have a genuine need for disability benefits, the process of application and acceptance can be a complicated one, and it’s […]

Understanding Social Security Disability Approval Rates by State

When you’re applying for Social Security Disability through the Social Security Administration, it’s tough to know right away if your application will be accepted. Even if you have a genuine need for disability benefits, the process of application and acceptance can be a complicated one, and it’s one that also varies somewhat depending on where you’re applying. There can be a huge difference in your likelihood of successfully applying and receiving your Social Security benefits depending on which state you’re living in.

Disability applications can check out the linked approval infographic here to see the rates of acceptance for Social Security benefit and Supplementary Security Income applications combined in the United States. 

The best states for disability application have been reported as the following:

Other states that have been reported to have a higher approval rate include Alaska, Kansas, New Hampshire, Nebraska, and Montana.


Why are rates of approval different in different locations? It’s hard to say for sure. Some states with a high approval rate are known to have prioritized disability assistance, not only through Social Security but also through local or state benefit options, non-profits, or other organizations and programs that are designed to help those experiencing some kind of disability. This focus on the problem may make these states more likely to understand and accept disability applications. Additionally, some of these places have fewer disabled individuals overall, meaning that a higher percentage of their applications may be seriously considered by approvers.

Whatever the reason, your chances are slightly better in some of these states if you apply for Social Security Disability. However, you might have noticed that even the highest acceptance rates listed only give you roughly a 2/3 chance of getting your disability benefit. We’ll look next at some of the other key factors that affect the approval rates for Social Security Disability applications, and then at some of the things you can do to improve your chances for acceptance. 

Key Factors Affecting Disability Approval Rates

Disability benefits application outcomes can vary based on many different factors:

  • Medical Evidence: Your application will need medical evidence to prove you qualify for disability. Depending on the kind of illness or injury you have, this process may be more or less difficult for your application. Some people have encountered difficulty receiving disability with long COVID-19 illnesses, for example. Make sure that you work closely with your medical care providers to get evidence of your condition that you can submit to help improve your chances of qualifying for Social Security Disability.
  • Proper Documentation: With any bureaucratic process–insurance claims, job applications, or disability applications–it’s important to have the right documentation for your goal. Applying for Social Security disability without including all the documents that will be needed can significantly harm your chances of approval. At the very least, the process will be slowed down until you can reapply with the proper documents, even if you would normally have had your application accepted. Make sure that you know beforehand what kinds of documents are going to be helpful when you submit your application, and make sure you have all of them ready to go, preferably in one place. 
  • Hiring an Attorney: It’s difficult to predict for sure what might cause difficulties or be helpful in the application process for Social Security Disability. However, some attorneys specialize in helping clients get their applications ready and dealing with any issues that occur throughout the process. Having a skilled attorney help you with your application and be on call for any problems that come up can greatly improve your approval rate. 

Tips for Improving Your Chances of Approval

Next, we will also consider some things you should keep in mind when you are working through the disability claim application:

  • Keep Careful Records: This applies to any kind of records that may be helpful in your application: medical records and employment or payment records, for instance. The evidence that you can provide for your medical condition will be crucial in making your case in your application, and the more thorough and careful your documentation is of your medical condition, the more likely it is that your application will be accepted.
  • Keep in Close Contact with Medical Care Providers: If anyone examines, diagnoses, or provides treatment for you, or helps you with your disabling condition in any way that means they will understand it in some way, You should make sure that you know who they are and what they have done, and that you have a record of their care. Your providers will likely be happy to help you get all the personal information and records that you need to give your application a better chance. 
  • Understand the Appeals Process: Not every application is accepted the first time around for Social Security Disability Benefits, but this doesn’t mean that you’ve lost your chance at qualifying. There is an appeals process in which you can resubmit your application after addressing any concerns that caused its initial rejection and seek disability adjudication alongside an Appeals Council. If your application takes more than one submission to be accepted, don’t give up yet.
  • Work with an Attorney: This is likely the most helpful tip we can offer you: involve someone whose job it is to make your life easier when it comes to the application process (or to the appeals process!). Legal representatives who specialize in helping people with Social Security Disability applications have a good grasp of how the system works and what is needed for a successful application. If you work with them on your application, it can greatly improve your chances of getting the SSD benefits you’re seeking. It can also reduce your stress and worry, as your legal representation will be able to help you understand and deal with any setbacks or difficult aspects of the application or appeals process. They’ve done this before, of course, and they can help you optimize your chances for a higher approval rate.

If you want legal help with your Social Security Disability application or appeal, contact us today at Benefits.com to get a free report to help you get started on your Social Security benefits application, and to see what our attorneys can do to help you on your application journey.

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