The Pursuit of Social Security Benefits in A Culture of Denial

By Disability Group

In the recent months, high denial rates among those applying for Social Security benefits has been the topic of great concern.  With only a 30-40% approval rate at the Initial Application, this has caused some to call the Social Security Administration’s strategies a “culture of denial.”  Despite the high rate of denials, there are many ways to help improve your chances at success.  A social security disability attorney can help you determine the strength of your case and specific strategies.

  1.  Appeal

A report published by CBS news stated that most people do not bother to appeal a denial the first time they are disapproved for benefits.  With almost two-thirds of all applicants giving up after their first denial, millions of Americans who paid into the system and quite possibly were deserving of benefits, never receive assistance.  While the approval rate at the initial stages is very low, there is a much higher approval rate when a claimant pursues benefits at a social security disability hearing.

  1. Congressional Inquiries

Most of those that do continue fighting for benefits are faced with long wait times – lasting between 12 and 18 months to get a hearing.  The SSA’s recent budget cuts and high staff turnover has resulted in longer back logs of cases, medical experts who are rendering opinions outside their specialties, and inexperienced examiners being pressured to disapprove claims in order to keep costs down. 

Your congressional representatives are in a unique position to assist you with your social security disability claim.  Congressional representatives voice concerns about long wait times and high denial rates, which help put pressure on the Social Security system to improve.  Recently, due to public concern and congressional inquiries, SSA changed some of their processes that were making it difficult for claimants at the hearing level.  With enough public concern and the assistance of our elected officials, SSA will make changes to better the system and eventually this “culture of denial” will be transformed.  If you feel that your wait time has been exceptionally long or you are in a dire situation, you can contact your congressional representative and ask them to inquire on your case.  You can find your specific representatives by entering your address at