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Increase SSDI Application Approval Chances


I've heard that as much as 70% of all SSDI applications are denied the first time they are submitted.  Is there anything I can do so that my application has a better chance of being approved?


Yes!  There are several actions you can take to decrease the likelihood that your application is denied.  Here are some common reasons for denial:

  1. Medical reports are more than two months old.  The Disability Determination Services (DDS) expect to see documentation for a minimum of one medical appointment every two months.  The more recent the documentation of your disability, the more weight it carries.  If your documentation is older than this, you are more likely to require a medical exam by a Social Security-directed physician.
  2. Application is inaccurate, vague, or incomplete.  The dates of medical care written in the application must match the medical records.  Do not leave any sections blank, follow the written instructions regarding sections that do not apply.  Complete the worksheets in the       Disability Starter Kit before your application interview. (
  3. Insufficient evidence of disability-related impairment.  Request and send as many relevant medical records as you can.  DDS will request any medical records that you did not include, but this takes time.  If the DDS does not have sufficient evidence to rule in your favor when their evaluation deadline passes, your application will be denied.  Contact all physicians and therapists named in your medical releases, let them know that they will receive requests for documentation and respectfully remind them that the information is time-sensitive. Make copies of all documents and keep a log of all correspondence; emails, traditional mail, and phone calls including name, date, topic, and action planned.  (

You can increase the chances of winning a SSDI or ssi benefit claim by doing the following:

  1. By finding out if your personal physician will support your disability case and, if so, by having your doctor complete a detailed statement as to why you are disabled and unable to work.
  2. By submitting copies of your medical records (including the most recent updates) when you apply and each time you appeal.
  3. By cooperating fully with the Disability Examiner working on your case. This includes responding promptly to letters and notices, as well as going to any medical exams scheduled by DDS.
  4. By keeping tabs (personally or via an attorney or representative) on the status of your social security disability case (if you are not represented, call DDS for updates on an initial claim or reconsideration, not the social security office and try never to call the 1-800 number for anything as the information dispensed by this facility is frequently incorrect).
  5. By not letting important deadlines lapse on your ssd or ssi disability claim.
  6. By getting an attorney or non attorney disability Representative as soon as your social security or ssi claim is denied.
  7. By maintaining a good relationship with the people working on your case--this includes the Claims Rep at Social Security, the Examiner at DDS, and even the Representative if you've hired one to help you. It is simply a fact: people will do more to help you when you have established a friendly, courteous relationship with them. (

Coming up in part 3 of SSDI/SSI:  "Approved, Denied, What's Next?"



thomasperry's picture



Social Security benefits will go up by 3.6 percent in 2012 to adjust for the cost of living. It is the first such raise since 2009. The increase is welcome news for seniors in this tough economy. However, many will see much of that increase eaten by increases in Medicare premiums. Source: