Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2016

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, 2006–2015

The final award rate for disabled-worker applicants has varied over time, averaging 34 percent for claims filed from 2006 through 2015. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 23 percent over the same period and ranged from a high of 25 percent to a low of 20 percent. The percentage of applicants awarded at the reconsideration and hearing levels are averaging 2 percent and 9 percent, respectively. Denied disability claims have averaged 62 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, 1992–2015
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 0 528,760 642,170 6,964 907,877 1,962 43.5 58.4
2006 2,164,394 0 611,199 653,256 7,270 890,752 1,917 41.2 57.5
2007 2,216,564 0 651,759 641,906 7,914 913,167 1,818 41.2 58.5
2008 2,358,629 0 717,160 661,044 9,024 969,623 1,778 41.1 59.2
2009 2,753,012 4,100 845,280 786,108 10,691 1,104,985 1,848 40.2 58.2
2010 2,981,613 5,980 978,727 857,269 19,112 1,118,449 2,076 37.6 56.2
2011 2,952,087 10,416 982,064 866,486 20,813 1,070,241 2,067 36.4 54.8
2012 2,955,922 26,864 1,024,683 849,946 23,956 1,028,187 2,286 35.1 54.2
2013 2,790,682 117,452 970,984 749,185 25,392 925,409 2,260 34.6 54.6
2014 2,682,401 342,623 938,339 625,139 29,154 744,849 2,297 31.8 53.4
2015 2,505,290 393,292 901,422 573,186 28,138 607,175 2,077 28.7 50.4
  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 0 524,858 607,568 6,874 829,087 1,890 42.1 57.6
2006 2,040,682 0 606,435 613,407 7,164 811,818 1,858 39.8 56.8
2007 2,083,896 0 646,517 599,091 7,799 828,737 1,752 39.8 57.8
2008 2,217,126 0 711,562 616,976 8,892 877,985 1,711 39.6 58.5
2009 2,595,028 3,990 839,291 733,978 10,543 1,005,453 1,773 38.8 57.6
2010 2,809,477 5,843 968,243 800,122 18,510 1,014,751 2,008 36.2 55.5
2011 2,780,977 10,192 971,197 809,848 20,319 967,420 2,001 34.9 53.9
2012 2,776,214 26,170 1,009,264 793,956 22,860 921,800 2,164 33.5 53.1
2013 2,620,315 113,767 958,159 698,213 24,412 823,601 2,163 32.9 53.4
2014 2,522,765 332,985 926,361 581,422 28,049 651,729 2,219 29.8 51.9
2015 2,352,917 382,404 890,190 533,408 27,162 517,749 2,004 26.3 48.2
  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 9,253 26 30,215 23 73.0 76.6
2006 41,468 0 2,190 9,774 38 29,443 23 71.0 75.1
2007 40,781 0 2,211 8,976 28 29,539 27 72.4 76.7
2008 42,140 0 2,329 8,625 31 31,134 21 73.9 78.3
2009 44,059 27 2,551 8,925 43 32,493 20 73.8 78.4
2010 47,583 49 3,543 9,672 83 34,213 23 72.0 77.9
2011 47,011 66 3,500 9,785 74 33,552 34 71.5 77.4
2012 51,351 219 5,851 9,790 242 35,196 53 68.8 77.9
2013 49,596 1,188 5,110 9,332 265 33,658 43 69.5 77.9
2014 47,324 3,654 4,601 8,201 289 30,543 36 69.9 78.3
2015 43,699 3,975 4,351 7,419 287 27,637 30 69.6 78.3
  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 2,010 25,349 64 48,575 49 63.9 65.7
2006 82,244 0 2,574 30,075 68 49,491 36 60.2 62.2
2007 91,887 0 3,031 33,839 87 54,891 39 59.7 61.8
2008 99,363 0 3,269 35,443 101 60,504 46 60.9 63.0
2009 113,925 83 3,438 43,205 105 67,039 55 58.9 60.8
2010 124,553 88 6,941 47,475 519 69,485 45 55.8 59.2
2011 124,099 158 7,367 46,853 420 69,269 32 55.9 59.5
2012 128,357 475 9,568 46,200 854 71,191 69 55.7 60.3
2013 120,771 2,497 7,715 41,640 715 68,150 54 57.6 61.7
2014 112,312 5,984 7,377 35,516 816 62,577 42 58.9 63.3
2015 108,674 6,913 6,881 32,359 689 61,789 43 60.7 65.2
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2016. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2016.
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, 1992–2015
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 1,559,003 575,310 36.9 763,377 370,449 48.5 795,626 204,861 25.7
2006 1,553,228 562,208 36.2 753,222 363,226 48.2 800,006 198,982 24.9
2007 1,564,862 583,040 37.3 757,288 377,343 49.8 807,574 205,697 25.5
2008 1,641,512 635,358 38.7 783,494 408,863 52.2 858,018 226,495 26.4
2009 1,907,736 734,238 38.5 922,244 480,777 52.1 985,492 253,461 25.7
2010 2,002,882 738,887 36.9 990,862 496,108 50.1 1,012,020 242,779 24.0
2011 1,970,021 703,050 35.7 987,837 478,570 48.4 982,184 224,480 22.9
2012 1,931,158 688,733 35.7 989,324 474,565 48.0 941,834 214,168 22.7
2013 1,818,951 642,538 35.3 965,788 449,654 46.6 853,163 192,884 22.6
2014 1,742,336 608,868 34.9 974,199 436,127 44.8 768,137 172,741 22.5
2015 1,599,070 559,334 35.0 914,626 406,063 44.4 684,444 153,271 22.4
  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 1,445,449 502,762 34.8 686,143 309,900 45.2 759,306 192,862 25.4
2006 1,434,280 489,529 34.1 675,523 303,051 44.9 758,757 186,478 24.6
2007 1,437,434 505,931 35.2 676,173 314,346 46.5 761,261 191,585 25.2
2008 1,505,604 552,653 36.7 697,867 340,930 48.9 807,737 211,723 26.2
2009 1,755,742 644,547 36.7 830,661 407,765 49.1 925,081 236,782 25.6
2010 1,841,231 644,889 35.0 894,378 418,950 46.8 946,853 225,939 23.9
2011 1,809,783 610,078 33.7 890,550 401,135 45.0 919,233 208,943 22.7
2012 1,766,873 592,101 33.5 886,990 393,130 44.3 879,883 198,971 22.6
2013 1,661,436 548,791 33.0 866,527 370,232 42.7 794,909 178,559 22.5
2014 1,594,791 519,884 32.6 879,167 360,404 41.0 715,624 159,480 22.3
2015 1,458,161 471,843 32.4 821,443 330,872 40.3 636,718 140,971 22.1
  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 26,265 66.5 29,201 22,023 75.4 10,316 4,242 41.1
2006 39,278 25,584 65.1 28,454 21,399 75.2 10,824 4,185 38.7
2007 38,570 25,546 66.2 27,586 21,181 76.8 10,984 4,365 39.7
2008 39,811 26,775 67.3 28,194 22,185 78.7 11,617 4,590 39.5
2009 41,508 27,811 67.0 28,929 22,796 78.8 12,579 5,015 39.9
2010 44,040 29,500 67.0 30,599 24,202 79.1 13,441 5,298 39.4
2011 43,511 28,694 65.9 30,383 23,797 78.3 13,128 4,897 37.3
2012 45,497 30,467 67.0 32,398 25,658 79.2 13,099 4,809 36.7
2013 44,479 29,512 66.4 31,749 24,997 78.7 12,730 4,515 35.5
2014 42,700 28,339 66.4 30,695 24,164 78.7 12,005 4,175 34.8
2015 39,298 26,649 67.8 28,547 22,860 80.1 10,751 3,789 35.2
  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 74,037 46,283 62.5 48,033 38,526 80.2 26,004 7,757 29.8
2006 79,670 47,095 59.1 49,245 38,776 78.7 30,425 8,319 27.3
2007 88,858 51,563 58.0 53,529 41,816 78.1 35,329 9,747 27.6
2008 96,097 55,930 58.2 57,433 45,748 79.7 38,664 10,182 26.3
2009 110,486 61,880 56.0 62,654 50,216 80.1 47,832 11,664 24.4
2010 117,611 64,498 54.8 65,885 52,956 80.4 51,726 11,542 22.3
2011 116,727 64,278 55.1 66,904 53,638 80.2 49,823 10,640 21.4
2012 118,788 66,165 55.7 69,936 55,777 79.8 48,852 10,388 21.3
2013 113,036 64,235 56.8 67,512 54,425 80.6 45,524 9,810 21.5
2014 104,845 60,645 57.8 64,337 51,559 80.1 40,508 9,086 22.4
2015 101,611 60,842 59.9 64,636 52,331 81.0 36,975 8,511 23.0
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2016.
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, 1992–2015
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 514,277 51,732 10.1 231,252 26,556 11.5 283,025 25,176 8.9
2006 514,442 51,156 9.9 227,921 26,078 11.4 286,521 25,078 8.8
2007 519,255 57,034 11.0 224,455 29,822 13.3 294,800 27,212 9.2
2008 546,426 59,255 10.8 222,900 29,957 13.4 323,526 29,298 9.1
2009 644,205 64,082 9.9 264,474 33,220 12.6 379,731 30,862 8.1
2010 706,064 63,209 9.0 299,813 34,296 11.4 406,251 28,913 7.1
2011 724,417 65,225 9.0 314,326 36,358 11.6 410,091 28,867 7.0
2012 714,046 62,926 8.8 316,661 35,122 11.1 397,385 27,804 7.0
2013 682,107 58,897 8.6 316,002 33,422 10.6 366,105 25,475 7.0
2014 640,179 58,232 9.1 314,021 34,845 11.1 326,158 23,387 7.2
2015 479,327 43,015 9.0 246,523 26,757 10.9 232,804 16,258 7.0
  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 49,029 9.8 225,707 25,640 11.4 275,667 23,389 8.5
2006 500,913 48,406 9.7 222,465 25,256 11.4 278,448 23,150 8.3
2007 503,474 54,432 10.8 218,684 28,950 13.2 284,790 25,482 8.9
2008 527,774 56,838 10.8 216,971 29,112 13.4 310,803 27,726 8.9
2009 621,659 61,294 9.9 258,002 32,318 12.5 363,657 28,976 8.0
2010 681,774 60,453 8.9 293,186 33,389 11.4 388,588 27,064 7.0
2011 699,620 62,424 8.9 307,186 35,404 11.5 392,434 27,020 6.9
2012 688,136 60,210 8.7 308,986 34,189 11.1 379,150 26,021 6.9
2013 657,565 56,434 8.6 308,806 32,575 10.5 348,759 23,859 6.8
2014 618,570 55,956 9.0 307,422 34,036 11.1 311,148 21,920 7.0
2015 463,832 41,333 8.9 241,561 26,111 10.8 222,271 15,222 6.8
  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 1,308 21.9 3,120 461 14.8 2,865 847 29.6
2007 5,948 1,143 19.2 2,887 462 16.0 3,061 681 22.2
2008 6,347 922 14.5 2,858 392 13.7 3,489 530 15.2
2009 6,988 1,075 15.4 3,044 446 14.7 3,944 629 15.9
2010 7,359 1,054 14.3 3,073 463 15.1 4,286 591 13.8
2011 7,842 1,129 14.4 3,365 503 14.9 4,477 626 14.0
2012 8,133 1,121 13.8 3,540 479 13.5 4,593 642 14.0
2013 8,098 1,055 13.0 3,482 469 13.5 4,616 586 12.7
2014 7,698 1,034 13.4 3,322 473 14.2 4,376 561 12.8
2015 5,538 794 14.3 2,384 355 14.9 3,154 439 13.9
  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 6,798 1,322 19.4 2,216 355 16.0 4,582 967 21.1
2006 7,544 1,442 19.1 2,336 361 15.5 5,208 1,081 20.8
2007 9,833 1,459 14.8 2,884 410 14.2 6,949 1,049 15.1
2008 12,305 1,495 12.1 3,071 453 14.8 9,234 1,042 11.3
2009 15,558 1,713 11.0 3,428 456 13.3 12,130 1,257 10.4
2010 16,931 1,702 10.1 3,554 444 12.5 13,377 1,258 9.4
2011 16,955 1,672 9.9 3,775 451 11.9 13,180 1,221 9.3
2012 17,777 1,595 9.0 4,135 454 11.0 13,642 1,141 8.4
2013 16,444 1,408 8.6 3,714 378 10.2 12,730 1,030 8.1
2014 13,911 1,242 8.9 3,277 336 10.3 10,634 906 8.5
2015 9,957 888 8.9 2,578 291 11.3 7,379 597 8.1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2016.
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, 1992–2015
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 384,341 282,797 73.6 178,312 145,587 81.6 206,029 137,210 66.6
2006 387,021 279,305 72.2 176,337 142,420 80.8 210,684 136,885 65.0
2007 387,409 274,911 71.0 169,874 136,100 80.1 217,535 138,811 63.8
2008 405,194 276,788 68.3 167,459 131,609 78.6 237,735 145,179 61.1
2009 478,223 308,513 64.5 198,777 149,947 75.4 279,446 158,566 56.7
2010 531,383 318,429 59.9 227,972 161,975 71.1 303,411 156,454 51.6
2011 543,550 304,033 55.9 236,707 158,378 66.9 306,843 145,655 47.5
2012 526,733 278,814 52.9 234,034 149,372 63.8 292,699 129,442 44.2
2013 417,234 226,234 54.2 195,966 125,890 64.2 221,268 100,344 45.3
2014 148,955 80,046 53.7 76,813 47,408 61.7 72,142 32,638 45.2
2015 14,154 6,903 48.8 8,246 4,631 56.2 5,908 2,272 38.5
  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 379,242 279,186 73.6 175,088 143,130 81.7 204,154 136,056 66.6
2006 381,766 275,741 72.2 173,088 140,092 80.9 208,678 135,649 65.0
2007 379,551 270,126 71.2 166,455 133,706 80.3 213,096 136,420 64.0
2008 393,924 270,205 68.6 163,637 128,858 78.7 230,287 141,347 61.4
2009 464,927 301,385 64.8 194,768 147,154 75.6 270,159 154,231 57.1
2010 517,096 311,417 60.2 223,779 159,200 71.1 293,317 152,217 51.9
2011 528,747 296,919 56.2 232,145 155,427 67.0 296,602 141,492 47.7
2012 510,841 271,653 53.2 229,178 146,390 63.9 281,663 125,263 44.5
2013 404,848 220,539 54.5 192,078 123,476 64.3 212,770 97,063 45.6
2014 144,892 78,108 53.9 75,277 46,418 61.7 69,615 31,690 45.5
2015 13,597 6,577 48.4 7,918 4,378 55.3 5,679 2,199 38.7
  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 3,642 2,877 79.0 1,960 1,601 81.7 1,682 1,276 75.9
2008 4,403 3,458 78.5 2,055 1,707 83.1 2,348 1,751 74.6
2009 4,748 3,627 76.4 2,119 1,741 82.2 2,629 1,886 71.7
2010 5,127 3,682 71.8 2,175 1,697 78.0 2,952 1,985 67.2
2011 5,355 3,763 70.3 2,345 1,762 75.1 3,010 2,001 66.5
2012 5,580 3,661 65.6 2,458 1,772 72.1 3,122 1,889 60.5
2013 4,735 3,134 66.2 2,062 1,500 72.7 2,673 1,634 61.1
2014 1,819 1,206 66.3 889 660 74.2 930 546 58.7
2015 286 224 78.3 213 186 87.3 73 38 52.1
  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 1,912 1,019 53.3 1,058 643 60.8 854 376 44.0
2006 2,083 990 47.5 1,162 602 51.8 921 388 42.1
2007 4,216 1,908 45.3 1,459 793 54.4 2,757 1,115 40.4
2008 6,867 3,125 45.5 1,767 1,044 59.1 5,100 2,081 40.8
2009 8,548 3,501 41.0 1,890 1,052 55.7 6,658 2,449 36.8
2010 9,160 3,330 36.4 2,018 1,078 53.4 7,142 2,252 31.5
2011 9,448 3,351 35.5 2,217 1,189 53.6 7,231 2,162 29.9
2012 10,312 3,500 33.9 2,398 1,210 50.5 7,914 2,290 28.9
2013 7,651 2,561 33.5 1,826 914 50.1 5,825 1,647 28.3
2014 2,244 732 32.6 647 330 51.0 1,597 402 25.2
2015 271 102 37.6 115 67 58.3 156 35 22.4
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through July 2016.
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, 1992–2015
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 907,877 100.0 26.5 4.7 32.0 36.8
2006 890,752 100.0 26.4 4.5 31.9 37.3
2007 913,167 100.0 26.1 4.6 32.7 36.6
2008 969,623 100.0 25.5 5.2 34.2 35.2
2009 1,104,985 100.0 24.3 5.2 35.7 34.7
2010 1,118,449 100.0 23.1 5.1 36.3 35.5
2011 1,070,241 100.0 22.5 5.0 37.7 34.8
2012 1,028,187 100.0 22.3 5.0 38.5 34.2
2013 925,409 100.0 23.4 4.9 38.7 33.0
2014 744,849 100.0 28.3 5.6 45.0 21.1
2015 607,175 100.0 33.0 5.9 47.9 13.2
  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 829,087 100.0 27.0 4.9 33.6 34.5
2006 811,818 100.0 26.9 4.7 33.5 34.9
2007 828,737 100.0 26.5 4.9 34.6 34.0
2008 877,985 100.0 26.0 5.5 36.2 32.3
2009 1,005,453 100.0 24.8 5.5 37.8 31.8
2010 1,014,751 100.0 23.6 5.4 38.6 32.4
2011 967,420 100.0 23.0 5.4 40.3 31.4
2012 921,800 100.0 23.0 5.4 41.4 30.2
2013 823,601 100.0 24.2 5.3 42.0 28.5
2014 651,729 100.0 29.9 6.2 49.7 14.2
2015 517,749 100.0 35.8 6.6 54.2 3.4
  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 30,215 100.0 9.7 1.7 25.5 63.1
2006 29,443 100.0 9.6 1.5 24.2 64.7
2007 29,539 100.0 9.1 1.6 24.3 64.9
2008 31,134 100.0 8.7 1.7 24.8 64.7
2009 32,493 100.0 8.1 1.9 26.0 63.9
2010 34,213 100.0 7.7 1.9 25.3 65.1
2011 33,552 100.0 7.8 1.7 25.3 65.3
2012 35,196 100.0 6.8 1.6 24.3 67.3
2013 33,658 100.0 6.3 1.6 23.4 68.7
2014 30,543 100.0 6.8 1.6 23.5 68.1
2015 27,637 100.0 7.3 1.4 23.2 68.1
  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 48,575 100.0 28.5 2.5 8.3 60.7
2006 49,491 100.0 28.4 2.6 8.8 60.2
2007 54,891 100.0 28.3 2.6 9.0 60.1
2008 60,504 100.0 26.6 2.5 8.6 62.2
2009 67,039 100.0 24.8 2.5 8.8 63.9
2010 69,485 100.0 23.2 2.3 8.3 66.1
2011 69,269 100.0 21.9 2.3 7.9 67.8
2012 71,191 100.0 21.5 2.2 7.3 68.9
2013 68,150 100.0 21.2 2.1 7.1 69.6
2014 62,577 100.0 21.8 2.0 6.9 69.3
2015 61,789 100.0 21.0 1.8 6.1 71.1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2016. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2016.
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, 1992–2015
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 649,134 100.0 6.5 19.2 26.7 31.4 16.3
2006 660,526 100.0 6.3 19.8 26.2 31.3 16.4
2007 649,820 100.0 6.3 20.4 26.3 31.0 16.0
2008 670,068 100.0 5.8 21.4 26.0 31.3 15.5
2009 796,799 100.0 4.7 22.5 25.4 32.3 15.2
2010 876,381 100.0 4.1 23.4 24.7 32.3 15.6
2011 887,299 100.0 3.9 23.9 20.4 33.6 18.3
2012 873,902 100.0 3.8 24.8 16.1 38.8 16.4
2013 774,577 100.0 4.1 25.4 14.8 41.1 14.5
2014 654,293 100.0 4.4 25.5 13.3 39.6 17.3
2015 601,324 100.0 4.6 24.8 11.8 40.2 18.6
  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 614,442 100.0 6.7 19.0 27.7 30.6 16.0
2006 620,571 100.0 6.5 19.5 27.4 30.6 16.0
2007 606,890 100.0 6.6 20.1 27.7 30.0 15.6
2008 625,868 100.0 6.1 21.1 27.4 30.3 15.1
2009 744,521 100.0 4.9 22.4 26.8 31.2 14.8
2010 818,632 100.0 4.3 23.2 26.1 31.2 15.3
2011 830,167 100.0 4.1 23.7 21.4 32.6 18.2
2012 816,816 100.0 4.0 24.6 17.0 38.2 16.2
2013 722,625 100.0 4.4 25.2 15.6 40.7 14.2
2014 609,471 100.0 4.6 25.2 14.0 39.1 17.1
2015 560,570 100.0 4.9 24.5 12.4 39.8 18.4
  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 9,279 100.0 3.6 26.7 32.0 22.8 15.0
2006 9,812 100.0 3.8 25.7 31.6 23.1 15.9
2007 9,004 100.0 3.6 27.3 31.3 21.9 15.9
2008 8,656 100.0 3.3 27.7 30.8 21.9 16.2
2009 8,968 100.0 2.8 28.8 30.2 22.2 16.0
2010 9,755 100.0 2.7 29.4 27.9 23.9 16.0
2011 9,859 100.0 2.9 28.2 27.0 24.8 17.0
2012 10,032 100.0 2.4 28.8 23.4 28.4 17.1
2013 9,597 100.0 2.4 29.0 22.0 31.5 15.1
2014 8,490 100.0 2.6 27.8 20.9 31.4 17.4
2015 7,706 100.0 2.4 26.2 20.2 32.6 18.6
  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 25,413 100.0 1.8 21.3 0.4 52.8 23.8
2006 30,143 100.0 1.7 23.6 0.4 50.3 23.9
2007 33,926 100.0 1.6 24.0 0.3 49.9 24.2
2008 35,544 100.0 1.5 24.8 0.2 51.0 22.5
2009 43,310 100.0 1.2 23.4 0.1 53.5 21.8
2010 47,994 100.0 1.2 24.7 0.1 53.1 20.9
2011 47,273 100.0 1.0 26.2 0.0 52.6 20.2
2012 47,054 100.0 0.9 27.7 0.0 51.8 19.5
2013 42,355 100.0 0.9 28.2 0.0 51.7 19.3
2014 36,332 100.0 1.0 29.3 0.0 49.5 20.3
2015 33,048 100.0 0.9 29.5 0.0 48.2 21.4
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2016. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2016.
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.