Disability Allowance: Legal Definition

Disability allowance refers to the rate at which the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves disability claims. For example, if the SSA approves 40 out of every 100 applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then the current disability allowance would be 40 percent.

While the disability allowance has remained relatively consistent over time, it has decreased slightly each year since 2008. Moreover, the disability allowance varies significantly at different stages of the application process.

The Social Security Disability Allowance

The Social Security disability allowance is very different at the four potential stages of the application process. Here is how the numbers break down:

Initial Application

The initial application refers to the first time a candidate applies for Social Security disability. At this stage, the applicant fills out a claim, attaches supporting evidence, and sends it to the SSA. A disability examiner reviews the claim and makes a decision.

Many more applicants are denied than approved on the first try. The medical allowance at this stage has drifted downward from 37.3 percent in 2001 to 29.8 percent in 2016, the most recent year for which records are available.

Request for Reconsideration

When the SSA denies a disability claim — which it does quite often at the initial application stage — the applicant has the right to appeal. They can file a request for reconsideration. In other words, they are asking the SSA to look at their application again and approve it.

After an applicant submits a request for reconsideration, it goes to another disability examiner (not the same one who issued the original denial). The examiner reviews the appeal, along with any new evidence submitted by the applicant, and renders a decision. The medical allowance at this stage is much lower even than at the initial application stage, hovering just below 10 percent as of 2016.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

Once an applicant’s appeal gets denied, they can request a live hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). Here, the applicant can work with an attorney and plead their case directly to a judge who has final decision-making authority.

Disability applicants do much better at this stage than at any other — especially if they prepare well for their appearance before the judge. But it has become even more critical in recent years to make a compelling case at your hearing. Between 2001 and 2016, the approval rate fell from 67 percent to 46 percent.

Call 865-566-0800 Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you have questions about Social Security disability, a lawyer from the Disability Advantage Group can help. We help clients apply and get approved for the benefits they deserve. For a free consultation, call us today at 865-566-0800.