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Applying for Social Security benefits can be a tiresome and frustrating process. In fact, the national average for approvals of social security claims is only 46%. On average it takes almost a year before applicants receive a hearing—a 368 day processing time for applications. Some states, of course, are more difficult than others in which to be approved.

When you get denied for a social security claim, it can be devastating. Many people simply give up and feel like there’s nowhere to go and no way to find help. The truth is, there are ways you can challenge an SSDI denial, and if you live in California, you actually have a better chance of approval than in many other states. Let’s examine some of the best and worst states for Social Security Disability approval, and how a Social Security disability attorney can be vital to your claim.

Worst States for Social Security Disability Approval

The states with the three highest denial rates for social security disability are Alaska, with a 54% denial rate; Delaware, with a 48% denial rate; and Kansas, with a 47% denial rate. In Alaska, 28% of cases are dismissed entirely. In Delaware, 17% of cases are entirely dismissed, and in Kansas, 20% of disability cases are dismissed.

Social Security Denial Statistics

It’s actually stunning how many social security claims are denied or dismissed outright. In fact, a full 65% of first-time applications are denied by the Social Security Administration. Among those that are reviewed for reconsideration, 87% are denied. 18% of hearing requests are dismissed, and 37% of hearing requests are denied.

The reason the SSA denies so many requests is that the problem of fraud is very real and costs taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. In an effort to ensure that only those who truly need benefits receive them, the SSA, unfortunately, ends up denying many of those they have set out to help. It becomes a Catch-22 for many people. Stopping fraud is good, but unfortunately, overzealous efforts leave many in need, out in the cold.

Best States for Social Security Approval

California is among the best states in the nation for social security disability approval. While not among the top three (these are Hawaii with 67% approval, Utah with 63% approval, and New Mexico with 56% approval), California sees almost half of all claims approved, which is above the national average. Sometimes, however, you’ll need to find the best possible representation to file an appeal of a denial.

How to Know if You’re Eligible

If you’re disabled, your disability will result in your inability to work for at least 12 months, you’ve worked at least 5 of the past 10 years and you possess limited resources and income, you could be eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits. You must, to be eligible, be a United States citizen, national or naturalized alien.

Appealing a Denial

If you are denied your social security benefits the first time out in California, that doesn’t mean it’s all over. You can still file an appeal and try to get your case heard. One thing you should not do, is file a whole new claim. This can be a fast-track to dismissal. Remember that the Social Security Administration is actively looking for reasons to deny your claim and they’ll view a new claim as a cover-up.

There are channels on the SSA’s website where you can file an appeal, but you shouldn’t try to undertake this yourself. Getting your claim heard requires taking just the right steps, and gathering all the necessary information to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are disabled and you are entitled to these benefits under the law.

With that being said, you only have 60 days from a denial to file your appeal. That means you need to act fast, and your first step is to find a good attorney.  

Finding a Social Security Disability Attorney

The right Social Security disability attorney knows how to review your initial claim to find things that were harmful. They know how to gather the necessary information to help back up your claim and make sure that the SSA will review it favorably. While approval is never a guarantee, the right attorney can give you the best shot at getting the benefits you deserve.

For many years, Dr. Bill LaTour has focused solely on SSDI and SSI cases in California. If you need help challenging a Social Security denial, our offices can help. Give us a call for a consultation today.