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Numbers make it clear: SSDI approval is getting more difficult

When you comb through the Social Security Administration's annual report on disability claims, you will come across a wide variety of interesting statistics. A glance through last year's report (the most recent report available) reveals that there are still 4,100 outstanding claims for disability benefits filed in the year 2009.

Think about that. People filed back when Barack Obama was in the first year of his presidency and the Social Security Administration had still not determined that they were due benefits or not. There were nearly 6,000 outstanding claims for 2010 and more than 10,000 for 2011.

The numbers of outstanding claims got truly mind-boggling in 2013: there were still more than 100,000 listed in last year's report. And there were more than 300,000 outstanding claims each for 2014 and 2015.

There is a pretty wide range of approval rates covered in the years listed in last year's report, too. Consider that in 1999 (the first year listed in the report), the initial approval rate for SSDI claims was at 56 percent. The initial approval rate stayed above 50 percent through 2002, until dropping to 47.8 percent in 2003. It then stayed above 40 percent through 2009.

The initial approval rate of benefits claims dropped to 37.6 percent in 2010. It stayed above 30 percent until 2015, when it dropped all way down to 28.7 percent.

During that time, the overall approval rate (that includes the results of SSDI appeals) has also declined over time, dropping from a high of 62.8 percent in 2001 down to 50.4 percent in 2015.

The numbers don't lie. It is significantly more difficult today to get an initial approval of an SSDI claim and more difficult today to win a SSDI appeal than it was back at the turn of the century.

That means it is more important than ever to have on your side an attorney experienced in navigating the Social Security Disability paperwork, procedures and process.

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