Sponsored content: Social Security Disability — Do You Qualify? And If So, How Do You Get Started?

Published July 29, 2019|Updated Jan. 10, 2020

Social Security disability is designed to help people who, due to physical or mental disabilities, are unable to support themselves. There are two different types of Social Security disability: one based on payments made into the system while the person was able to work, and the other based on need. Disability benefits provide an important safety net because, according to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old worker has a 25 percent chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

Unfortunately, getting approved for disability benefits isn't always easy. Nationwide, nearly ⅔ of initial Social Security disability applications are denied. The next step is a Request for Reconsideration. The Request for Reconsideration is a fairly simple process, but yields dismal results: the decision is made by a different reviewer in the same agency as the initial decision-maker, and the approval rate is less than 14 percent.

Approval rates are even lower within the state of Florida. Only about 27 percent of initial applications are approved, and denials are reversed in only about 9 percent of Requests for Reconsideration.

Social Security Disability Hearings Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

The success rate of applicants who take the next step and request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ Hearing) is much higher. It is at this stage that the largest percentage of applications are approved.

There are several reasons for greater success at this level, including a change in decision-makers. One reason that the chances of approval increase at this stage is that, since the procedures are a bit more complicated, it is more common for an applicant to seek legal representation at this stage.

Social Security Disability Cases in the Federal District Courts

If a disability application is denied following the ALJ hearing, the applicant has the option of requesting reconsideration from the federal district court. The success rate at the district court level is substantial—about 40 percent—so applicants turned down by the ALJ should not be discouraged and give up the fight.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

The test to determine whether you are eligible to receive Social Security disability is twofold. First, work requirement must be satisfied. These requirements vary depending on your age at the time you became disabled. Second, you must establish that you are disabled under the standards set forth by the Social Security Administration.

The medical assessment can be a complicated process, and understanding exactly what type of information must be submitted and putting the documentation together correctly has a significant impact on the likelihood that your application will be approved.

Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is a need-based program that does not require an applicant to meet past work requirements. Instead, the program offers benefits to people who are disabled, blind or 65 and older and have limited income and resources.

For adult applicants, the standards for proving disability are generally the same as those for Social Security disability, and the same difficulties may arise in the application process.

Pursuing Disability Benefits in the Tampa Area

Getting a Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income application approved can be challenging anywhere, and Florida statistics are particularly discouraging. However, with the right assistance, it is often possible to get an application approved and start disability benefits flowing.

Attorneys' fees are paid from your back benefits award, and are capped at 25 percent of past benefits, so you don't have to worry about how you will pay your Social Security disability lawyer. Just call us at 1-800-253-5523 24/7, or fill out the contact form at to schedule a free consultation.

Social Security Lawyer in St. Petersburg

Social Security disability lawyers


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