The rate of applicants who are ultimately approved, however, has remained slim — averaging just 36 percent for claims filed from 2004 to 2013, according to the report. About a quarter are awarded benefits on their initial claim, while another 2 percent are approved on appeal and 11 percent at hearings.
"The reality is, more often than not, you'll be denied," said Stephen Dunn, a staff attorney with the New York Legal Assistance Group, which provides free legal services to low-income New Yorkers.
In fact, waits for a hearing can stretch the process out for a year or longer, he said.
(Per Social Security Administration data, 28 percent of final medical denials in 2013 were because the impairment was considered "not severe," and another 31 percent because the applicant was still considered able to do other kinds of work.)
"If you do get denied, you have to act on requesting an appeal quickly, within two months."Read Full Article