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What Disability Cases Get Approved?

 Posted on February 11, 2012 in Need to Apply for Social Security Disability

In a previous blog post, I had mentioned that the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies the majority of Social Security disability benefits claims, whether SSDI or SSI. What was not mentioned was what types of claims are approved.

In 2009, SSA approved 846,290 disability applications. Approximately 37% of those applications either met or equaled one of the government's Listing of Impairments. In other words, the claimant had a particular medical condition so severe that it warranted disability benefits without even getting to their educational background, work history, or what jobs he or she could still perform. Meeting or equaling a listing is the ideal way to win a Social Security disability case.

For the other 63% of disability benefits applications in 2009 that were approved, the claimant would have had to prove that the combination of his or her impairments prevents holding down a full-time job. In other words, any number of severe medical conditions combine to prevent someone from working. In court, functional capacity arguments often boil down to whether there are jobs out there that an individual with like limitations can still perform in the economy. These arguments are inherently more challenging to win than simply proving that a listing is met.

Numbers do not lie and these in particular demonstrate that if you are applying for Social Security disability benefits you will most likely have to prove to the government that you are incapable of holding down jobs at a particular exertional level. This will involve a look at your past relevant work, education, age, and medical conditions. Since meeting or equaling a listing is a relatively rare circumstance, most claimants have their work cut out for them. For this reason, our law firm highly recommends seeking out a highly skilled Social Security disability lawyer that focuses his or her practice to disability claims.


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