Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2014

Outcomes of Applications for Disability Benefits

Notes

The tables in this section provide data on the outcomes of applications for disability benefits. The data on applications are derived from the Social Security Administration's (SSA's) Disability Research File maintained by the Office of Disability Programs. Each year this file is updated with information about applications for disability benefits that is then used to determine the outcome of those applications. The outcome data in these tables are reported by year of filing and include decisions made through the administrative appeals process.

Table 60 shows the total number of applications filed in a year, the number denied for nonmedical reasons before a medical decision is made (technical denials), the number that are pending a final decision, the outcome of applications for which a medical allowance or denial was made, and award and allowance rates. Applications for which a medical allowance or denial decision was made but which were subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons are shown under the medical decision header as subsequent denials. The most common nonmedical reason for denying a claim is insufficient number of recent work credits.

The allowance rate is calculated by dividing the number of medical allowances (including subsequent technical denials) by the total number of medical decisions made for a 1-year cohort. The award rate is a broader program measure that is calculated as the number of allowances minus subsequent denials divided by total applications (minus pending claims) filed for a given year.

Claims that remain pending after 6 years are probably the result of imperfect data rather than excessive delays in the decision-making process. It is highly probable that decisions have been rendered on most of the older claims. For more recent years, the award and allowance rates will change as decisions are made on pending claims.

Tables 61–63 show the allowance rate for Social Security only and the Social Security portion of concurrent applications (which are claims for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability benefits). Each table shows a different level in the administrative decision-making process; that is, initial adjudicative, reconsideration, and hearing or higher level.

Beginning with 2000, the proportion of claims awarded at each level of the process changed as a result of the Prototype Process being tested in 10 states. Under this test, the reconsideration step of the appeals process was eliminated for applications filed October 1, 1999, or later. Elimination of the reconsideration level in these states results in a decrease in the aggregate proportion of claims awarded at this step.

This section also includes one table that shows the reason for medical allowance and one that shows the reason for medical denial (Tables 64 and 65). The reasons are derived from the sequential evaluation process used by decision makers. SSA maintains a list of impairments that are considered disabling under its regulations. An applicant can be found to be disabled if he or she—

  • has a listed impairment,
  • has a severe impairment that is equal to a listed impairment,
  • has a severe impairment when medical and vocational factors are considered, or
  • had previously established entitlement to a disability benefit.

An applicant can be denied benefits if he or she—

  • has an impairment that is not expected to last 12 months,
  • has an impairment that is not considered severe,
  • is able to perform his or her usual type of work,
  • is able to perform another type of work, or
  • has an impairment resulting from drug addiction or alcoholism, provides insufficient medical evidence, fails to cooperate, fails to follow prescribed treatment, does not want to continue development of the claim, or returns to substantial work before disability can be established.
Chart 11. Final outcome of disabled-worker applications, 2004–2013

The final award rate for disabled-worker applicants has varied over time, averaging 36 percent for claims filed from 2004 through 2013. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 24 percent over the same period and ranged from a high of 25 percent to a low of 21 percent. The percentage of applicants awarded at the reconsideration and hearing levels are averaging 2 percent and 11 percent, respectively. Denied disability claims have averaged 61 percent.

Area chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Tables 60–63.
NOTES: Awards are calculated as medical allowances minus subsequent technical denials. Technical denials include both nonmedical decision technical denials and medical decisions that were subsequently denied for technical reasons.
The proportion of claims awarded at each level of the process is likely to change as a result of the Prototype Process being tested in 10 states. Under this test, the reconsideration step of the appeals process was eliminated for applications filed October 1, 1999, or later. Elimination of the reconsideration level in these states is likely to result in a decrease in the overall proportion of claims awarded at this step.
Table 60. Outcomes at all adjudicative levels, by year of application, 1992–2013
Year Total Pending final decision Technical denials a Medical decisions Award rate d (percent) Allowance rate e (percent)
Denials Allowances
Medical Subsequent nonmedical b Awards Subsequent denials c
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 1,265,037 0 104,332 445,995 4,056 708,797 1,857 56.0 61.3
2000 1,364,323 0 136,054 456,467 3,817 766,047 1,938 56.1 62.6
2001 1,513,411 0 170,520 496,835 3,579 840,542 1,935 55.5 62.8
2002 1,715,710 0 231,067 580,430 4,067 898,047 2,099 52.3 60.7
2003 1,941,894 0 374,305 632,284 4,485 928,747 2,073 47.8 59.5
2004 2,262,119 0 615,672 677,811 5,634 961,376 1,626 42.5 58.5
2005 2,087,733 0 528,799 642,261 6,964 907,744 1,965 43.5 58.4
2006 2,164,393 0 611,238 653,612 7,276 890,350 1,917 41.1 57.5
2007 2,216,564 1,847 651,804 640,652 7,916 912,526 1,819 41.2 58.6
2008 2,358,630 3,940 717,216 658,133 9,028 968,529 1,784 41.1 59.3
2009 2,753,014 7,879 845,411 784,743 10,700 1,102,427 1,854 40.2 58.2
2010 2,981,613 17,204 978,922 851,373 19,181 1,112,846 2,087 37.5 56.2
2011 2,952,088 66,124 982,311 823,595 20,954 1,057,026 2,078 36.6 55.7
2012 2,885,480 251,699 964,712 730,700 23,846 912,350 2,173 34.6 54.9
2013 2,689,842 469,470 912,785 607,055 24,823 673,712 1,997 30.3 51.8
  Workers
1992 1,310,004 0 130,885 481,439 5,725 689,111 2,844 52.6 58.8
1993 1,384,501 0 140,314 540,906 5,626 695,007 2,648 50.2 56.2
1994 1,383,092 0 130,240 573,158 5,506 671,791 2,397 48.6 53.9
1995 1,301,472 0 123,711 542,097 5,048 628,380 2,236 48.3 53.6
1996 1,313,818 0 116,988 537,482 5,011 652,221 2,116 49.6 54.8
1997 1,164,680 0 106,868 449,464 4,212 602,277 1,859 51.7 57.2
1998 1,138,101 0 96,718 421,953 4,205 613,181 2,044 53.9 59.2
1999 1,167,650 0 102,305 419,486 4,008 640,065 1,786 54.8 60.3
2000 1,265,188 0 133,947 430,581 3,782 695,007 1,871 54.9 61.7
2001 1,414,524 0 168,231 470,999 3,537 769,877 1,880 54.4 62.0
2002 1,609,480 0 228,455 550,985 4,011 823,981 2,048 51.2 59.9
2003 1,831,154 0 371,334 599,558 4,428 853,832 2,002 46.6 58.7
2004 2,145,629 0 611,647 643,040 5,582 883,784 1,576 41.2 57.8
2005 1,970,277 0 524,896 607,655 6,874 828,960 1,892 42.1 57.6
2006 2,040,681 0 606,474 613,743 7,170 811,436 1,858 39.8 56.8
2007 2,083,896 1,812 646,563 597,845 7,801 828,122 1,753 39.8 57.9
2008 2,217,127 3,855 711,621 614,115 8,896 876,923 1,717 39.6 58.6
2009 2,595,028 7,681 839,414 732,619 10,551 1,002,984 1,779 38.8 57.5
2010 2,809,477 16,825 968,434 794,318 18,578 1,009,305 2,017 36.1 55.5
2011 2,780,977 64,420 971,451 767,973 20,455 954,666 2,012 35.1 54.9
2012 2,720,755 244,446 955,231 678,387 23,110 817,490 2,091 33.0 54.0
2013 2,539,900 455,855 905,098 561,996 24,226 590,774 1,951 28.3 50.4
  Widow(er)s
1999 40,053 0 1,173 9,718 17 29,108 37 72.7 75.0
2000 39,990 0 1,258 9,013 11 29,679 29 74.2 76.8
2001 40,227 0 1,344 8,738 13 30,113 19 74.9 77.5
2002 41,065 0 1,540 8,941 18 30,547 19 74.4 77.4
2003 41,243 0 1,645 9,553 24 29,977 44 72.7 75.9
2004 42,449 0 2,069 9,554 22 30,780 24 72.5 76.3
2005 41,409 0 1,892 9,254 26 30,214 23 73.0 76.6
2006 41,468 0 2,190 9,776 38 29,441 23 71.0 75.1
2007 40,781 12 2,211 8,970 28 29,533 27 72.4 76.7
2008 42,140 24 2,329 8,612 31 31,123 21 73.9 78.3
2009 44,060 49 2,552 8,923 43 32,473 20 73.8 78.4
2010 47,583 123 3,545 9,644 83 34,163 25 72.0 77.9
2011 47,011 417 3,498 9,566 75 33,421 34 71.7 77.7
2012 46,767 2,294 3,380 9,134 95 31,832 32 71.6 77.6
2013 44,054 4,539 2,989 8,584 103 27,817 22 70.4 76.3
  Adult children
1999 57,334 0 854 16,791 31 39,624 34 69.1 70.3
2000 59,145 0 849 16,873 24 41,361 38 69.9 71.1
2001 58,660 0 945 17,098 29 40,552 36 69.1 70.4
2002 65,165 0 1,072 20,504 38 43,519 32 66.8 68.0
2003 69,497 0 1,326 23,173 33 44,938 27 64.7 66.0
2004 74,041 0 1,956 25,217 30 46,812 26 63.2 65.0
2005 76,047 0 2,011 25,352 64 48,570 50 63.9 65.7
2006 82,244 0 2,574 30,093 68 49,473 36 60.2 62.2
2007 91,887 23 3,030 33,837 87 54,871 39 59.7 61.8
2008 99,363 61 3,266 35,406 101 60,483 46 60.9 63.1
2009 113,926 149 3,445 43,201 106 66,970 55 58.9 60.8
2010 124,553 256 6,943 47,411 520 69,378 45 55.8 59.2
2011 124,100 1,287 7,362 46,056 424 68,939 32 56.1 59.8
2012 117,958 4,959 6,101 43,179 641 63,028 50 55.8 59.0
2013 105,888 9,076 4,698 36,475 494 55,121 24 56.9 59.9
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2014. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the award and allowance rates will change over time. Cases can be pending at the initial or appellate levels and can include either medical or technical issues.
Data include decisions for Social Security–only applications and applications for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); they do not include SSI-only applications.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
a. Applications were denied for nonmedical reasons; therefore no decision was made on severity of impairment.
b. Applications were denied for nonmedical reasons after a decision was made that the applicant did not meet the medical severity criteria for disability benefits.
c. Applications were denied for nonmedical reasons after a decision was made that the applicant met the medical severity criteria for disability benefits.
d. Rate determined by dividing awards by all applications minus pending claims for that year.
e. Rate determined by dividing medical allowances by all medical decisions for that year.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.
Table 61. Medical decisions at the initial adjudicative level, by year of application and program, 1992–2013
Year All decisions Decisions on applications for Social Security only Decisions on applications for both Social Security and SSI
Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a,b (percent)
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 1,160,792 458,854 39.5 649,980 313,152 48.2 510,812 145,702 28.5
2000 1,228,301 500,657 40.8 688,282 339,764 49.4 540,019 160,893 29.8
2001 1,342,915 558,741 41.6 742,869 379,266 51.1 600,046 179,475 29.9
2002 1,484,685 575,089 38.7 794,839 385,453 48.5 689,846 189,636 27.5
2003 1,567,607 583,758 37.2 804,688 383,225 47.6 762,919 200,533 26.3
2004 1,646,469 604,176 36.7 814,157 389,190 47.8 832,312 214,986 25.8
2005 1,558,964 575,265 36.9 763,338 370,420 48.5 795,626 204,845 25.7
2006 1,553,190 562,130 36.2 753,184 363,182 48.2 800,006 198,948 24.9
2007 1,564,788 582,936 37.3 757,213 377,281 49.8 807,575 205,655 25.5
2008 1,641,415 635,227 38.7 783,397 408,783 52.2 858,018 226,444 26.4
2009 1,907,582 733,981 38.5 922,088 480,619 52.1 985,494 253,362 25.7
2010 2,002,623 738,462 36.9 990,600 495,848 50.1 1,012,023 242,614 24.0
2011 1,969,473 702,292 35.7 987,287 478,094 48.4 982,186 224,198 22.8
2012 1,919,301 675,949 35.2 976,187 462,221 47.3 943,114 213,728 22.7
2013 1,770,826 614,747 34.7 934,025 426,613 45.7 836,801 188,134 22.5
  Workers
1992 1,179,119 436,715 37.0 558,741 248,385 44.5 620,378 188,330 30.4
1993 1,244,187 421,560 33.9 571,464 240,839 42.1 672,723 180,721 26.9
1994 1,252,852 390,785 31.2 591,408 233,059 39.4 661,444 157,726 23.8
1995 1,177,761 367,293 31.2 569,963 223,457 39.2 607,798 143,836 23.7
1996 1,196,830 384,167 32.1 593,992 237,474 40.0 602,838 146,693 24.3
1997 1,057,812 357,880 33.8 551,909 228,793 41.5 505,903 129,087 25.5
1998 1,041,383 374,376 35.9 550,794 238,989 43.4 490,589 135,387 27.6
1999 1,065,430 396,253 37.2 578,884 259,417 44.8 486,546 136,836 28.1
2000 1,131,273 435,416 38.5 615,507 283,906 46.1 515,766 151,510 29.4
2001 1,246,317 493,638 39.6 670,621 323,649 48.3 575,696 169,989 29.5
2002 1,381,065 507,031 36.7 718,611 327,294 45.5 662,454 179,737 27.1
2003 1,459,838 514,871 35.3 728,169 324,769 44.6 731,669 190,102 26.0
2004 1,534,004 532,860 34.7 738,167 329,980 44.7 795,837 202,880 25.5
2005 1,445,411 502,719 34.8 686,105 309,872 45.2 759,306 192,847 25.4
2006 1,434,242 489,464 34.1 675,485 303,013 44.9 758,757 186,451 24.6
2007 1,437,363 505,844 35.2 676,101 314,289 46.5 761,262 191,555 25.2
2008 1,505,510 552,537 36.7 697,773 340,855 48.8 807,737 211,682 26.2
2009 1,755,597 644,322 36.7 830,516 407,624 49.1 925,081 236,698 25.6
2010 1,840,982 644,511 35.0 894,126 418,714 46.8 946,856 225,797 23.8
2011 1,809,258 609,383 33.7 890,024 400,695 45.0 919,234 208,688 22.7
2012 1,764,142 587,830 33.3 882,935 389,105 44.1 881,207 198,725 22.6
2013 1,628,792 533,994 32.8 848,217 359,517 42.4 780,575 174,477 22.4
  Widow(er)s
1999 38,880 24,898 64.0 29,600 21,272 71.9 9,280 3,626 39.1
2000 38,732 25,748 66.5 29,874 21,967 73.5 8,858 3,781 42.7
2001 38,883 26,206 67.4 30,273 22,436 74.1 8,610 3,770 43.8
2002 39,526 26,489 67.0 30,891 22,751 73.6 8,635 3,738 43.3
2003 39,598 25,960 65.6 30,216 22,213 73.5 9,382 3,747 39.9
2004 40,380 26,666 66.0 29,578 22,252 75.2 10,802 4,414 40.9
2005 39,517 26,264 66.5 29,201 22,023 75.4 10,316 4,241 41.1
2006 39,278 25,583 65.1 28,454 21,398 75.2 10,824 4,185 38.7
2007 38,570 25,542 66.2 27,586 21,181 76.8 10,984 4,361 39.7
2008 39,811 26,770 67.2 28,194 22,183 78.7 11,617 4,587 39.5
2009 41,508 27,804 67.0 28,928 22,791 78.8 12,580 5,013 39.8
2010 44,038 29,492 67.0 30,597 24,199 79.1 13,441 5,293 39.4
2011 43,511 28,681 65.9 30,383 23,794 78.3 13,128 4,887 37.2
2012 43,377 28,509 65.7 30,170 23,686 78.5 13,207 4,823 36.5
2013 41,044 26,705 65.1 28,589 22,307 78.0 12,455 4,398 35.3
  Adult children
1999 56,482 37,703 66.8 41,496 32,463 78.2 14,986 5,240 35.0
2000 58,296 39,493 67.7 42,901 33,891 79.0 15,395 5,602 36.4
2001 57,715 38,897 67.4 41,975 33,181 79.0 15,740 5,716 36.3
2002 64,094 41,569 64.9 45,337 35,408 78.1 18,757 6,161 32.8
2003 68,171 42,927 63.0 46,303 36,243 78.3 21,868 6,684 30.6
2004 72,085 44,650 61.9 46,412 36,958 79.6 25,673 7,692 30.0
2005 74,036 46,282 62.5 48,032 38,525 80.2 26,004 7,757 29.8
2006 79,670 47,083 59.1 49,245 38,771 78.7 30,425 8,312 27.3
2007 88,855 51,550 58.0 53,526 41,811 78.1 35,329 9,739 27.6
2008 96,094 55,920 58.2 57,430 45,745 79.7 38,664 10,175 26.3
2009 110,477 61,855 56.0 62,644 50,204 80.1 47,833 11,651 24.4
2010 117,603 64,459 54.8 65,877 52,935 80.4 51,726 11,524 22.3
2011 116,704 64,228 55.0 66,880 53,605 80.2 49,824 10,623 21.3
2012 111,782 59,610 53.3 63,082 49,430 78.4 48,700 10,180 20.9
2013 100,990 54,048 53.5 57,219 44,789 78.3 43,771 9,259 21.2
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the allowance rate will change over time.
Applications with a medical decision may be pending a final nonmedical decision or be subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
SSI = Supplemental Security Income.
a. Rate determined by dividing medical allowances by all medical decisions for that year.
b. Rate for the Social Security portion only.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.
Table 62. Medical decisions at the reconsideration level, by year of application and program, 1992–2013
Year All decisions Decisions on applications for Social Security only Decisions on applications for both Social Security and SSI
Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a,b (percent)
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 397,127 58,602 14.8 209,682 33,223 15.8 187,445 25,379 13.5
2000 407,758 55,631 13.6 214,965 31,473 14.6 192,793 24,158 12.5
2001 434,185 55,494 12.8 221,720 30,807 13.9 212,465 24,687 11.6
2002 502,441 57,460 11.4 249,822 31,212 12.5 252,619 26,248 10.4
2003 542,986 57,868 10.7 258,354 30,344 11.7 284,632 27,524 9.7
2004 558,632 57,363 10.3 255,283 29,169 11.4 303,349 28,194 9.3
2005 514,276 51,729 10.1 231,251 26,555 11.5 283,025 25,174 8.9
2006 514,442 51,151 9.9 227,921 26,081 11.4 286,521 25,070 8.7
2007 519,237 57,033 11.0 224,437 29,823 13.3 294,800 27,210 9.2
2008 546,405 59,273 10.8 222,879 29,961 13.4 323,526 29,312 9.1
2009 644,192 64,114 10.0 264,460 33,227 12.6 379,732 30,887 8.1
2010 706,047 63,351 9.0 299,796 34,331 11.5 406,251 29,020 7.1
2011 724,346 66,670 9.2 314,257 36,949 11.8 410,089 29,721 7.2
2012 711,099 63,010 8.9 313,970 35,300 11.2 397,129 27,710 7.0
2013 567,774 42,752 7.5 262,770 24,672 9.4 305,004 18,080 5.9
  Workers
1992 419,798 53,881 12.8 190,594 25,352 13.3 229,204 28,529 12.4
1993 469,151 58,275 12.4 206,606 27,306 13.2 262,545 30,969 11.8
1994 489,731 62,757 12.8 226,013 31,468 13.9 263,718 31,289 11.9
1995 458,036 60,584 13.2 218,950 31,563 14.4 239,086 29,021 12.1
1996 464,582 65,466 14.1 226,333 33,596 14.8 238,249 31,870 13.4
1997 403,225 59,978 14.9 206,148 33,373 16.2 197,077 26,605 13.5
1998 384,997 61,742 16.0 199,292 34,043 17.1 185,705 27,699 14.9
1999 384,286 55,272 14.4 202,999 31,712 15.6 181,287 23,560 13.0
2000 396,216 52,794 13.3 208,638 30,189 14.5 187,578 22,605 12.1
2001 422,937 52,905 12.5 215,591 29,647 13.8 207,346 23,258 11.2
2002 489,974 54,974 11.2 243,259 30,157 12.4 246,715 24,817 10.1
2003 529,775 55,342 10.4 252,226 29,348 11.6 277,549 25,994 9.4
2004 545,180 54,527 10.0 249,568 28,202 11.3 295,612 26,325 8.9
2005 501,374 49,028 9.8 225,707 25,639 11.4 275,667 23,389 8.5
2006 500,913 48,406 9.7 222,465 25,260 11.4 278,448 23,146 8.3
2007 503,458 54,434 10.8 218,668 28,950 13.2 284,790 25,484 8.9
2008 527,756 56,857 10.8 216,953 29,117 13.4 310,803 27,740 8.9
2009 621,647 61,336 9.9 257,990 32,328 12.5 363,657 29,008 8.0
2010 681,757 60,609 8.9 293,169 33,427 11.4 388,588 27,182 7.0
2011 699,554 63,869 9.1 307,122 35,998 11.7 392,432 27,871 7.1
2012 686,470 60,462 8.8 307,040 34,454 11.2 379,430 26,008 6.9
2013 549,405 41,105 7.5 257,658 24,110 9.4 291,747 16,995 5.8
  Widow(er)s
1999 7,125 1,962 27.5 4,114 895 21.8 3,011 1,067 35.4
2000 6,379 1,572 24.6 3,872 734 19.0 2,507 838 33.4
2001 6,212 1,582 25.5 3,865 728 18.8 2,347 854 36.4
2002 6,390 1,392 21.8 3,996 649 16.2 2,394 743 31.0
2003 6,665 1,378 20.7 3,832 637 16.6 2,833 741 26.2
2004 6,475 1,549 23.9 3,457 597 17.3 3,018 952 31.5
2005 6,105 1,381 22.6 3,329 561 16.9 2,776 820 29.5
2006 5,985 1,307 21.8 3,120 461 14.8 2,865 846 29.5
2007 5,948 1,142 19.2 2,887 462 16.0 3,061 680 22.2
2008 6,347 924 14.6 2,858 394 13.8 3,489 530 15.2
2009 6,989 1,075 15.4 3,044 446 14.7 3,945 629 15.9
2010 7,359 1,052 14.3 3,073 462 15.0 4,286 590 13.8
2011 7,842 1,131 14.4 3,365 504 15.0 4,477 627 14.0
2012 7,778 1,071 13.8 3,262 434 13.3 4,516 637 14.1
2013 6,252 750 12.0 2,563 313 12.2 3,689 437 11.8
  Adult children
1999 5,716 1,368 23.9 2,569 616 24.0 3,147 752 23.9
2000 5,163 1,265 24.5 2,455 550 22.4 2,708 715 26.4
2001 5,036 1,007 20.0 2,264 432 19.1 2,772 575 20.7
2002 6,077 1,094 18.0 2,567 406 15.8 3,510 688 19.6
2003 6,546 1,148 17.5 2,296 359 15.6 4,250 789 18.6
2004 6,977 1,287 18.4 2,258 370 16.4 4,719 917 19.4
2005 6,797 1,320 19.4 2,215 355 16.0 4,582 965 21.1
2006 7,544 1,438 19.1 2,336 360 15.4 5,208 1,078 20.7
2007 9,831 1,457 14.8 2,882 411 14.3 6,949 1,046 15.1
2008 12,302 1,492 12.1 3,068 450 14.7 9,234 1,042 11.3
2009 15,556 1,703 10.9 3,426 453 13.2 12,130 1,250 10.3
2010 16,931 1,690 10.0 3,554 442 12.4 13,377 1,248 9.3
2011 16,950 1,670 9.9 3,770 447 11.9 13,180 1,223 9.3
2012 16,851 1,477 8.8 3,668 412 11.2 13,183 1,065 8.1
2013 12,117 897 7.4 2,549 249 9.8 9,568 648 6.8
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the allowance rate will change over time.
Applications with a medical decision may be pending a final nonmedical decision or be subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons.
A revised process was introduced on October 1, 1999, in 10 states, under which initial denials could be appealed directly to the hearing level without a reconsideration.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
SSI = Supplemental Security Income.
a. Rate determined by dividing medical allowances by all medical decisions for that year.
b. Rate for the Social Security portion only.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.
Table 63. Medical decisions at the hearing level or above, by year of application and program, 1992–2013
Year All decisions Decisions on applications for Social Security only Decisions on applications for both Social Security and SSI
Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a (percent) Total Allowances Allowance rate a,b (percent)
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 265,058 193,198 72.9 144,847 114,207 78.8 120,211 78,991 65.7
2000 290,068 211,697 73.0 157,001 124,015 79.0 133,067 87,682 65.9
2001 313,839 228,242 72.7 164,710 130,576 79.3 149,129 97,666 65.5
2002 369,875 267,597 72.3 189,671 150,834 79.5 180,204 116,763 64.8
2003 401,747 289,194 72.0 197,765 157,566 79.7 203,982 131,628 64.5
2004 415,339 301,463 72.6 196,715 159,335 81.0 218,624 142,128 65.0
2005 384,338 282,715 73.6 178,311 145,547 81.6 206,027 137,168 66.6
2006 387,006 278,986 72.1 176,329 142,272 80.7 210,677 136,714 64.9
2007 385,535 274,376 71.2 169,172 135,881 80.3 216,363 138,495 64.0
2008 401,196 275,813 68.7 165,991 131,209 79.0 235,205 144,604 61.5
2009 474,345 306,186 64.5 197,393 148,986 75.5 276,952 157,200 56.8
2010 519,839 313,120 60.2 223,771 159,745 71.4 296,068 153,375 51.8
2011 485,943 290,142 59.7 215,159 152,124 70.7 270,784 138,018 51.0
2012 293,713 175,564 59.8 136,448 96,396 70.6 157,265 79,168 50.3
2013 32,508 18,210 56.0 17,181 11,365 66.1 15,327 6,845 44.7
  Workers
1992 275,863 201,359 73.0 131,624 105,371 80.1 144,239 95,988 66.5
1993 310,655 217,816 70.1 143,997 112,593 78.2 166,658 105,223 63.1
1994 323,607 220,645 68.2 156,458 119,338 76.3 167,149 101,307 60.6
1995 301,917 202,739 67.2 150,882 113,781 75.4 151,035 88,958 58.9
1996 306,245 204,704 66.8 157,790 116,292 73.7 148,455 88,412 59.6
1997 267,288 186,278 69.7 141,021 107,539 76.3 126,267 78,739 62.4
1998 251,486 179,107 71.2 134,883 104,763 77.7 116,603 74,344 63.8
1999 260,850 190,326 73.0 141,671 111,954 79.0 119,179 78,372 65.8
2000 285,620 208,668 73.1 153,649 121,651 79.2 131,971 87,017 65.9
2001 309,372 225,214 72.8 161,335 128,214 79.5 148,037 97,000 65.5
2002 364,659 264,024 72.4 185,830 148,078 79.7 178,829 115,946 64.8
2003 396,352 285,621 72.1 194,232 155,060 79.8 202,120 130,561 64.6
2004 410,160 297,973 72.6 193,481 156,966 81.1 216,679 141,007 65.1
2005 379,240 279,105 73.6 175,088 143,091 81.7 204,152 136,014 66.6
2006 381,751 275,424 72.1 173,080 139,946 80.9 208,671 135,478 64.9
2007 377,714 269,597 71.4 165,771 133,491 80.5 211,943 136,106 64.2
2008 390,013 269,246 69.0 162,199 128,466 79.2 227,814 140,780 61.8
2009 461,137 299,105 64.9 193,403 146,210 75.6 267,734 152,895 57.1
2010 505,785 306,202 60.5 219,627 156,994 71.5 286,158 149,208 52.1
2011 472,629 283,426 60.0 210,937 149,281 70.8 261,692 134,145 51.3
2012 285,074 171,289 60.1 133,656 94,515 70.7 151,418 76,774 50.7
2013 31,387 17,626 56.2 16,686 11,002 65.9 14,701 6,624 45.1
  Widow(er)s
1999 3,027 2,285 75.5 2,325 1,794 77.2 702 491 69.9
2000 3,140 2,388 76.1 2,414 1,870 77.5 726 518 71.3
2001 3,046 2,344 77.0 2,391 1,862 77.9 655 482 73.6
2002 3,438 2,685 78.1 2,654 2,109 79.5 784 576 73.5
2003 3,525 2,683 76.1 2,438 1,914 78.5 1,087 769 70.7
2004 3,241 2,589 79.9 2,199 1,804 82.0 1,042 785 75.3
2005 3,187 2,592 81.3 2,166 1,814 83.7 1,021 778 76.2
2006 3,172 2,574 81.1 2,087 1,726 82.7 1,085 848 78.2
2007 3,629 2,876 79.3 1,952 1,601 82.0 1,677 1,275 76.0
2008 4,377 3,450 78.8 2,041 1,702 83.4 2,336 1,748 74.8
2009 4,726 3,614 76.5 2,113 1,737 82.2 2,613 1,877 71.8
2010 5,055 3,644 72.1 2,152 1,684 78.3 2,903 1,960 67.5
2011 4,996 3,643 72.9 2,202 1,715 77.9 2,794 1,928 69.0
2012 3,141 2,284 72.7 1,473 1,171 79.5 1,668 1,113 66.7
2013 520 384 73.8 319 265 83.1 201 119 59.2
  Adult children
1999 1,181 587 49.7 851 459 53.9 330 128 38.8
2000 1,308 641 49.0 938 494 52.7 370 147 39.7
2001 1,421 684 48.1 984 500 50.8 437 184 42.1
2002 1,778 888 49.9 1,187 647 54.5 591 241 40.8
2003 1,870 890 47.6 1,095 592 54.1 775 298 38.5
2004 1,938 901 46.5 1,035 565 54.6 903 336 37.2
2005 1,911 1,018 53.3 1,057 642 60.7 854 376 44.0
2006 2,083 988 47.4 1,162 600 51.6 921 388 42.1
2007 4,192 1,903 45.4 1,449 789 54.5 2,743 1,114 40.6
2008 6,806 3,117 45.8 1,751 1,041 59.5 5,055 2,076 41.1
2009 8,482 3,467 40.9 1,877 1,039 55.4 6,605 2,428 36.8
2010 8,999 3,274 36.4 1,992 1,067 53.6 7,007 2,207 31.5
2011 8,318 3,073 36.9 2,020 1,128 55.8 6,298 1,945 30.9
2012 5,498 1,991 36.2 1,319 710 53.8 4,179 1,281 30.7
2013 601 200 33.3 176 98 55.7 425 102 24.0
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through July 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the allowance rate will change over time.
Applications with a medical decision may be pending a final nonmedical decision or be subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons.
A revised process was introduced on October 1, 1999, in 10 states, under which initial denials could be appealed directly to the hearing level without a reconsideration.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
SSI = Supplemental Security Income.
a. Rate determined by dividing medical allowances by all medical decisions for that year.
b. Rate for the Social Security portion only.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.
Table 64. Number and percentage distribution of final medical allowances, by year of application and reason for allowance, 1992–2013
Year Total Meets level of severity of listings Equals level of severity of listings Medical and vocational factors considered Other a
Number Percent
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 708,797 100.0 33.0 5.9 26.9 34.2
2000 766,047 100.0 31.1 6.2 29.2 33.5
2001 840,542 100.0 30.0 6.1 30.1 33.9
2002 898,047 100.0 28.5 5.3 30.1 36.1
2003 928,747 100.0 27.1 5.1 31.1 36.7
2004 961,376 100.0 26.4 4.9 31.5 37.2
2005 907,744 100.0 26.5 4.7 32.0 36.8
2006 890,350 100.0 26.4 4.5 31.9 37.2
2007 912,526 100.0 26.1 4.6 32.8 36.5
2008 968,529 100.0 25.5 5.2 34.2 35.1
2009 1,102,427 100.0 24.4 5.2 35.8 34.6
2010 1,112,846 100.0 23.2 5.1 36.5 35.1
2011 1,057,026 100.0 22.8 5.1 38.2 34.0
2012 912,350 100.0 25.0 5.6 43.2 26.2
2013 673,712 100.0 31.1 6.4 50.6 11.9
  Workers
1992 689,111 100.0 34.3 11.1 24.3 30.3
1993 695,007 100.0 34.3 8.7 23.6 33.4
1994 671,791 100.0 34.5 6.9 25.6 32.9
1995 628,380 100.0 34.5 6.7 26.8 31.9
1996 652,221 100.0 34.2 7.0 27.4 31.5
1997 602,277 100.0 35.0 7.5 26.4 31.1
1998 613,181 100.0 35.5 6.6 26.9 31.0
1999 640,065 100.0 33.6 6.3 28.3 31.9
2000 695,007 100.0 31.7 6.5 30.6 31.2
2001 769,877 100.0 30.5 6.4 31.3 31.8
2002 823,981 100.0 29.0 5.6 31.4 34.0
2003 853,832 100.0 27.5 5.3 32.5 34.8
2004 883,784 100.0 26.7 5.2 32.9 35.2
2005 828,960 100.0 27.0 4.9 33.6 34.5
2006 811,436 100.0 26.9 4.8 33.5 34.8
2007 828,122 100.0 26.6 4.9 34.6 33.9
2008 876,923 100.0 26.0 5.5 36.3 32.2
2009 1,002,984 100.0 24.9 5.5 37.9 31.7
2010 1,009,305 100.0 23.8 5.4 38.8 32.0
2011 954,666 100.0 23.3 5.4 40.8 30.4
2012 817,490 100.0 25.8 6.0 46.5 21.6
2013 590,774 100.0 32.8 7.0 55.7 4.4
  Widow(er)s
1999 29,108 100.0 14.9 2.5 24.6 58.0
2000 29,679 100.0 12.8 2.5 26.3 58.4
2001 30,113 100.0 12.3 2.6 27.0 58.1
2002 30,547 100.0 11.4 2.1 26.5 60.0
2003 29,977 100.0 10.8 2.2 26.1 60.9
2004 30,780 100.0 10.1 1.9 26.0 62.0
2005 30,214 100.0 9.7 1.7 25.5 63.1
2006 29,441 100.0 9.6 1.5 24.2 64.7
2007 29,533 100.0 9.1 1.6 24.3 64.9
2008 31,123 100.0 8.7 1.7 24.9 64.7
2009 32,473 100.0 8.1 1.9 26.1 63.9
2010 34,163 100.0 7.7 1.9 25.4 65.0
2011 33,421 100.0 7.8 1.7 25.4 65.1
2012 31,832 100.0 7.5 1.7 26.5 64.3
2013 27,817 100.0 7.3 1.9 26.5 64.3
  Adult children
1999 39,624 100.0 35.9 3.2 7.4 53.5
2000 41,361 100.0 35.0 3.1 7.3 54.7
2001 40,552 100.0 33.0 3.0 8.0 56.0
2002 43,519 100.0 31.7 2.9 7.6 57.8
2003 44,938 100.0 31.0 2.7 8.2 58.2
2004 46,812 100.0 30.1 2.7 8.5 58.6
2005 48,570 100.0 28.5 2.5 8.3 60.7
2006 49,473 100.0 28.4 2.6 8.8 60.2
2007 54,871 100.0 28.3 2.6 9.0 60.1
2008 60,483 100.0 26.6 2.5 8.6 62.2
2009 66,970 100.0 24.9 2.5 8.8 63.9
2010 69,378 100.0 23.3 2.3 8.3 66.1
2011 68,939 100.0 22.0 2.3 7.9 67.7
2012 63,028 100.0 23.7 2.5 8.0 65.8
2013 55,121 100.0 24.1 2.4 7.8 65.7
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2014. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the numbers and percentages will change over time.
Applications with a medical decision may be pending a final nonmedical decision or be subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons.
Data include decisions for Social Security–only applications and applications for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); they do not include SSI-only claims.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
a. Includes applications for which the disability was previously established and those for which the basis for the determination is not available. The majority of applications for which the basis of determination is not available are cases allowed at or above the hearing level.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.
Table 65. Number and percentage distribution of final medical denials, by year of application and reason for denial, 1992–2013
Year Total Impairment did not or is not expected to last 12 months Impairment is not severe Able to do usual past work Able to do other type of work Other a
Number Percent
  All disabled beneficiaries
1999 450,051 100.0 10.2 17.8 28.3 30.8 12.9
2000 460,284 100.0 10.0 17.2 28.2 30.4 14.1
2001 500,414 100.0 9.2 16.7 28.0 31.1 14.9
2002 584,497 100.0 8.5 17.1 28.2 31.3 14.9
2003 636,769 100.0 7.5 17.7 28.2 31.8 14.9
2004 683,445 100.0 6.8 18.4 27.6 31.5 15.7
2005 649,225 100.0 6.5 19.2 26.7 31.4 16.3
2006 660,888 100.0 6.3 19.8 26.2 31.4 16.4
2007 648,568 100.0 6.3 20.4 26.3 30.9 16.1
2008 667,161 100.0 5.8 21.4 25.9 31.2 15.6
2009 795,443 100.0 4.7 22.5 25.4 32.3 15.2
2010 870,554 100.0 4.1 23.4 24.6 32.2 15.6
2011 844,549 100.0 4.0 24.2 20.5 33.5 17.7
2012 754,546 100.0 4.2 25.3 16.1 37.4 17.2
2013 631,878 100.0 4.5 25.2 14.9 39.1 16.3
  Workers
1992 487,164 100.0 10.7 22.9 28.4 29.6 8.4
1993 546,532 100.0 10.4 22.7 27.6 29.8 9.5
1994 578,664 100.0 10.2 21.5 25.9 28.8 13.6
1995 547,145 100.0 10.6 20.8 25.4 29.4 13.8
1996 542,493 100.0 10.2 19.6 24.7 30.6 14.8
1997 453,676 100.0 10.6 18.5 25.7 30.5 14.6
1998 426,158 100.0 10.8 18.3 27.8 30.8 12.3
1999 423,494 100.0 10.6 17.4 29.3 30.1 12.6
2000 434,363 100.0 10.4 16.8 29.3 29.7 13.9
2001 474,536 100.0 9.5 16.4 29.0 30.4 14.7
2002 554,996 100.0 8.8 16.8 29.2 30.6 14.7
2003 603,986 100.0 7.7 17.4 29.2 31.0 14.6
2004 648,622 100.0 7.0 18.2 28.5 30.8 15.4
2005 614,529 100.0 6.7 19.0 27.7 30.6 16.0
2006 620,913 100.0 6.5 19.5 27.4 30.6 16.0
2007 605,646 100.0 6.6 20.1 27.7 30.0 15.6
2008 623,011 100.0 6.1 21.2 27.3 30.3 15.1
2009 743,170 100.0 4.9 22.4 26.8 31.1 14.8
2010 812,896 100.0 4.3 23.3 26.1 31.1 15.3
2011 788,428 100.0 4.2 24.1 21.6 32.5 17.6
2012 701,497 100.0 4.4 25.1 17.0 36.6 17.0
2013 586,222 100.0 4.8 25.0 15.8 38.5 16.0
  Widow(er)s
1999 9,735 100.0 5.6 29.0 31.8 22.7 10.8
2000 9,024 100.0 5.3 29.0 31.4 22.3 12.1
2001 8,751 100.0 4.7 27.6 31.2 22.8 13.7
2002 8,959 100.0 4.8 25.5 32.9 23.9 13.0
2003 9,577 100.0 4.2 25.7 33.1 23.7 13.3
2004 9,576 100.0 3.6 26.5 32.2 23.0 14.7
2005 9,280 100.0 3.6 26.7 32.0 22.8 15.0
2006 9,814 100.0 3.8 25.7 31.6 23.1 15.9
2007 8,998 100.0 3.6 27.3 31.2 21.9 15.9
2008 8,643 100.0 3.4 27.8 30.8 21.9 16.2
2009 8,966 100.0 2.8 28.8 30.2 22.2 16.0
2010 9,727 100.0 2.7 29.4 27.9 24.0 16.0
2011 9,641 100.0 2.9 28.5 27.0 24.9 16.8
2012 9,229 100.0 2.5 29.3 23.3 27.7 17.3
2013 8,687 100.0 2.5 28.2 22.1 30.7 16.4
  Adult children
1999 16,822 100.0 3.1 22.7 0.7 53.3 20.2
2000 16,897 100.0 2.8 22.9 0.7 51.9 21.7
2001 17,127 100.0 2.5 21.3 0.9 52.9 22.3
2002 20,542 100.0 2.3 21.6 0.8 53.6 21.7
2003 23,206 100.0 2.0 21.8 0.7 53.6 21.9
2004 25,247 100.0 1.9 22.1 0.5 52.4 23.1
2005 25,416 100.0 1.8 21.3 0.4 52.8 23.8
2006 30,161 100.0 1.7 23.6 0.4 50.3 23.9
2007 33,924 100.0 1.6 24.0 0.3 49.9 24.2
2008 35,507 100.0 1.5 24.8 0.2 51.0 22.6
2009 43,307 100.0 1.2 23.4 0.1 53.5 21.8
2010 47,931 100.0 1.2 24.7 0.1 53.1 20.9
2011 46,480 100.0 1.0 26.2 0.0 52.4 20.3
2012 43,820 100.0 1.0 27.7 0.0 51.0 20.3
2013 36,969 100.0 0.9 27.8 0.0 50.4 20.9
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2014. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2014.
Because a number of applications remain pending for more recent years, the numbers and percentages will change over time.
Applications with a medical decision may be pending a final nonmedical decision or be subsequently denied for nonmedical reasons.
Data include decisions for Social Security–only applications and applications for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); they do not include SSI-only claims.
Data from 1992 through 1998 are available for disabled workers only.
a. Applicant has an impairment resulting from drug addiction or alcoholism, provided insufficient medical evidence, failed to cooperate, failed to follow prescribed treatment, did not want to continue development of the claim, or returned to substantial work before disability could be established. Also includes cases denied at or above the hearing level for which the basis of determination is not available.
CONTACT: (410) 965-0090 or statistics@ssa.gov.