Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2011

 

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 59 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 60–62 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 63 and 64). 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

An applicant can be denied benefits if he or she

Chart 11. Final outcome of disabled-worker applications, 2001–2010

The final award rate for disabled-worker applicants has varied over time, averaging nearly 45 percent for claims filed from 2001 through 2010. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 28 percent over the same period and ranged from a high of 37 percent to a low of 26 percent. The percentage of applicants awarded at the reconsideration and hearing levels are averaging 3 percent and 13 percent, respectively. Denied disability claims have averaged nearly 53 percent.

Area chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Tables 59–64.
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 59. Outcomes at all adjudicative levels, by year of application, 1992–2010
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 1,716,044 0 231,067 580,676 4,067 898,135 2,099 52.3 60.7
2003 1,942,210 0 374,309 632,566 4,485 928,777 2,073 47.8 59.4
2004 2,262,363 688 616,823 680,631 5,680 956,896 1,645 42.3 58.3
2005 2,087,956 1,702 529,691 644,912 7,023 902,638 1,990 43.3 58.2
2006 2,164,544 4,376 612,209 655,741 7,343 882,927 1,948 40.9 57.2
2007 2,216,709 12,716 652,754 637,628 7,995 903,774 1,842 41.0 58.4
2008 2,358,740 41,271 717,875 631,870 9,101 956,810 1,813 41.3 60.0
2009 2,744,469 138,426 845,236 710,283 10,942 1,037,685 1,897 39.8 59.1
2010 2,838,485 413,530 878,497 688,348 12,418 843,735 1,957 34.8 54.8
  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 1,609,492 0 228,455 551,002 4,011 823,976 2,048 51.2 59.9
2003 1,831,162 0 371,336 599,609 4,428 853,787 2,002 46.6 58.7
2004 2,145,633 684 612,783 644,957 5,627 879,988 1,594 41.0 57.6
2005 1,970,278 1,690 525,774 609,481 6,929 824,488 1,916 41.9 57.4
2006 2,040,683 4,331 607,428 615,128 7,235 804,673 1,888 39.5 56.5
2007 2,083,899 12,473 647,502 594,442 7,879 819,828 1,775 39.6 57.8
2008 2,217,129 40,138 712,283 588,305 8,964 865,693 1,746 39.8 59.3
2009 2,589,706 134,318 839,291 660,472 10,790 943,015 1,820 38.4 58.5
2010 2,683,465 402,106 872,378 637,301 12,263 757,513 1,904 33.2 54.0
  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 41,316 0 1,540 9,133 18 30,606 19 74.1 77.0
2003 41,467 0 1,646 9,737 24 30,016 44 72.4 75.6
2004 42,615 3 2,073 10,023 22 30,470 24 71.5 75.3
2005 41,572 6 1,896 9,679 27 29,940 24 72.0 75.6
2006 41,577 20 2,195 10,110 38 29,191 23 70.2 74.3
2007 40,879 86 2,212 9,135 29 29,390 27 72.0 76.3
2008 42,200 284 2,329 8,555 34 30,977 21 73.9 78.3
2009 43,550 1,022 2,547 8,660 44 31,256 21 73.5 78.3
2010 44,356 3,572 2,637 8,920 41 29,165 21 71.5 76.6
  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 65,236 0 1,072 20,541 38 43,553 32 66.8 68.0
2003 69,581 0 1,327 23,220 33 44,974 27 64.6 66.0
2004 74,115 1 1,967 25,651 31 46,438 27 62.7 64.4
2005 76,106 6 2,021 25,752 67 48,210 50 63.4 65.2
2006 82,284 25 2,586 30,503 70 49,063 37 59.6 61.7
2007 91,931 157 3,040 34,051 87 54,556 40 59.4 61.6
2008 99,411 849 3,263 35,010 103 60,140 46 61.0 63.2
2009 111,213 3,086 3,398 41,151 108 63,414 56 58.6 60.6
2010 110,664 7,852 3,482 42,127 114 57,057 32 55.5 57.5
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2011. Data for the hearing level or above are current through October 2011.
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 60. Medical decisions at the initial adjudicative level, by year of application and program, 1992–2010
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 1,485,020 575,179 38.7 795,055 385,515 48.5 689,965 189,664 27.5
2003 1,567,920 583,830 37.2 804,898 383,281 47.6 763,022 200,549 26.3
2004 1,645,554 602,185 36.6 813,141 388,017 47.7 832,413 214,168 25.7
2005 1,558,292 573,379 36.8 762,570 369,376 48.4 795,722 204,003 25.6
2006 1,552,338 560,044 36.1 752,276 362,063 48.1 800,062 197,981 24.7
2007 1,563,932 580,943 37.1 756,296 376,151 49.7 807,636 204,792 25.4
2008 1,640,718 633,751 38.6 782,646 407,886 52.1 858,072 225,865 26.3
2009 1,898,487 725,923 38.2 914,481 474,152 51.8 984,006 251,771 25.6
2010 1,957,275 710,732 36.3 962,214 474,634 49.3 995,061 236,098 23.7
  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 1,381,078 507,038 36.7 718,618 327,298 45.5 662,460 179,740 27.1
2003 1,459,845 514,873 35.3 728,174 324,771 44.6 731,671 190,102 26.0
2004 1,532,864 531,112 34.6 737,023 328,863 44.6 795,841 202,249 25.4
2005 1,444,531 501,089 34.7 685,217 308,900 45.1 759,314 192,189 25.3
2006 1,433,258 487,671 34.0 674,497 301,954 44.8 758,761 185,717 24.5
2007 1,436,380 504,098 35.1 675,111 313,217 46.4 761,269 190,881 25.1
2008 1,504,713 551,194 36.6 696,973 340,000 48.8 807,740 211,194 26.1
2009 1,749,719 639,317 36.5 825,782 403,941 48.9 923,937 235,376 25.5
2010 1,808,472 628,149 34.7 876,565 407,935 46.5 931,907 220,214 23.6
  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 39,777 26,541 66.7 31,059 22,787 73.4 8,718 3,754 43.1
2003 39,821 25,997 65.3 30,366 22,240 73.2 9,455 3,757 39.7
2004 40,542 26,590 65.6 29,686 22,236 74.9 10,856 4,354 40.1
2005 39,676 26,179 66.0 29,308 22,009 75.1 10,368 4,170 40.2
2006 39,382 25,491 64.7 28,524 21,381 75.0 10,858 4,110 37.9
2007 38,667 25,487 65.9 27,657 21,175 76.6 11,010 4,312 39.2
2008 39,871 26,735 67.1 28,230 22,170 78.5 11,641 4,565 39.2
2009 40,995 27,225 66.4 28,423 22,272 78.4 12,572 4,953 39.4
2010 41,703 27,247 65.3 28,483 22,190 77.9 13,220 5,057 38.3
  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 64,165 41,600 64.8 45,378 35,430 78.1 18,787 6,170 32.8
2003 68,254 42,960 62.9 46,358 36,270 78.2 21,896 6,690 30.6
2004 72,148 44,483 61.7 46,432 36,918 79.5 25,716 7,565 29.4
2005 74,085 46,111 62.2 48,045 38,467 80.1 26,040 7,644 29.4
2006 79,698 46,882 58.8 49,255 38,728 78.6 30,443 8,154 26.8
2007 88,885 51,358 57.8 53,528 41,759 78.0 35,357 9,599 27.1
2008 96,134 55,822 58.1 57,443 45,716 79.6 38,691 10,106 26.1
2009 107,773 59,381 55.1 60,276 47,939 79.5 47,497 11,442 24.1
2010 107,100 55,336 51.7 57,166 44,509 77.9 49,934 10,827 21.7
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2011.
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 61. Medical decisions at the reconsideration level, by year of application and program, 1992–2010
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 502,525 57,464 11.4 249,874 31,214 12.5 252,651 26,250 10.4
2003 543,039 57,869 10.7 258,386 30,345 11.7 284,653 27,524 9.7
2004 558,610 56,525 10.1 255,247 28,936 11.3 303,363 27,589 9.1
2005 514,276 50,994 9.9 231,227 26,327 11.4 283,049 24,667 8.7
2006 514,388 50,351 9.8 227,860 25,849 11.3 286,528 24,502 8.6
2007 519,185 56,655 10.9 224,374 29,696 13.2 294,811 26,959 9.1
2008 546,362 60,315 11.0 222,823 30,412 13.6 323,539 29,903 9.2
2009 639,361 64,391 10.1 261,874 33,391 12.8 377,487 31,000 8.2
2010 614,683 49,971 8.1 262,746 27,626 10.5 351,937 22,345 6.3
  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 489,976 54,974 11.2 243,261 30,157 12.4 246,715 24,817 10.1
2003 529,777 55,339 10.4 252,228 29,348 11.6 277,549 25,991 9.4
2004 545,127 54,078 9.9 249,516 28,027 11.2 295,611 26,051 8.8
2005 501,337 48,622 9.7 225,663 25,467 11.3 275,674 23,155 8.4
2006 500,842 47,926 9.6 222,396 25,067 11.3 278,446 22,859 8.2
2007 503,382 54,170 10.8 218,588 28,842 13.2 284,794 25,328 8.9
2008 527,698 57,933 11.0 216,893 29,569 13.6 310,805 28,364 9.1
2009 617,485 61,873 10.0 255,665 32,556 12.7 361,820 29,317 8.1
2010 595,287 48,171 8.1 257,459 26,992 10.5 337,828 21,179 6.3
  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 6,461 1,394 21.6 4,041 650 16.1 2,420 744 30.7
2003 6,707 1,379 20.6 3,857 637 16.5 2,850 742 26.0
2004 6,497 1,351 20.8 3,472 566 16.3 3,025 785 26.0
2005 6,140 1,225 20.0 3,351 527 15.7 2,789 698 25.0
2006 6,002 1,172 19.5 3,128 437 14.0 2,874 735 25.6
2007 5,973 1,101 18.4 2,906 456 15.7 3,067 645 21.0
2008 6,358 921 14.5 2,863 394 13.8 3,495 527 15.1
2009 6,926 999 14.4 3,012 424 14.1 3,914 575 14.7
2010 6,305 779 12.4 2,617 344 13.1 3,688 435 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 6,088 1,096 18.0 2,572 407 15.8 3,516 689 19.6
2003 6,555 1,151 17.6 2,301 360 15.6 4,254 791 18.6
2004 6,986 1,096 15.7 2,259 343 15.2 4,727 753 15.9
2005 6,799 1,147 16.9 2,213 333 15.0 4,586 814 17.7
2006 7,544 1,253 16.6 2,336 345 14.8 5,208 908 17.4
2007 9,830 1,384 14.1 2,880 398 13.8 6,950 986 14.2
2008 12,306 1,461 11.9 3,067 449 14.6 9,239 1,012 11.0
2009 14,950 1,519 10.2 3,197 411 12.9 11,753 1,108 9.4
2010 13,091 1,021 7.8 2,670 290 10.9 10,421 731 7.0
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2011.
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 62. Medical decisions at the hearing level or above, by year of application and program, 1992–2010
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 369,911 267,591 72.3 189,699 150,833 79.5 180,212 116,758 64.8
2003 401,769 289,151 72.0 197,777 157,542 79.7 203,992 131,609 64.5
2004 414,652 299,831 72.3 196,401 158,690 80.8 218,251 141,141 64.7
2005 382,656 280,255 73.2 177,643 144,524 81.4 205,013 135,731 66.2
2006 382,640 274,480 71.7 174,672 140,502 80.4 207,968 133,978 64.4
2007 374,494 268,018 71.6 165,337 133,375 80.7 209,157 134,643 64.4
2008 362,506 264,557 73.0 153,741 126,985 82.6 208,765 137,572 65.9
2009 339,841 249,268 73.3 151,130 125,281 82.9 188,711 123,987 65.7
2010 111,650 84,989 76.1 58,046 49,350 85.0 53,604 35,639 66.5
  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 364,660 264,012 72.4 185,831 148,072 79.7 178,829 115,940 64.8
2003 396,356 285,577 72.1 194,233 155,035 79.8 202,123 130,542 64.6
2004 409,469 296,392 72.4 193,164 156,341 80.9 216,305 140,051 64.7
2005 377,550 276,693 73.3 174,416 142,093 81.5 203,134 134,600 66.3
2006 377,419 270,964 71.8 171,449 138,194 80.6 205,970 132,770 64.5
2007 366,864 263,335 71.8 162,006 131,026 80.9 204,858 132,309 64.6
2008 352,379 258,312 73.3 150,242 124,348 82.8 202,137 133,964 66.3
2009 330,656 243,645 73.7 148,126 122,999 83.0 182,530 120,646 66.1
2010 108,820 83,097 76.4 56,927 48,441 85.1 51,893 34,656 66.8
  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 3,471 2,690 77.5 2,679 2,113 78.9 792 577 72.9
2003 3,540 2,684 75.8 2,447 1,915 78.3 1,093 769 70.4
2004 3,244 2,553 78.7 2,202 1,788 81.2 1,042 765 73.4
2005 3,198 2,560 80.1 2,174 1,798 82.7 1,024 762 74.4
2006 3,163 2,551 80.7 2,081 1,715 82.4 1,082 836 77.3
2007 3,564 2,829 79.4 1,919 1,579 82.3 1,645 1,250 76.0
2008 4,109 3,342 81.3 1,933 1,657 85.7 2,176 1,685 77.4
2009 3,711 3,053 82.3 1,752 1,531 87.4 1,959 1,522 77.7
2010 1,343 1,160 86.4 693 634 91.5 650 526 80.9
  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 1,780 889 49.9 1,189 648 54.5 591 241 40.8
2003 1,873 890 47.5 1,097 592 54.0 776 298 38.4
2004 1,939 886 45.7 1,035 561 54.2 904 325 36.0
2005 1,908 1,002 52.5 1,053 633 60.1 855 369 43.2
2006 2,058 965 46.9 1,142 593 51.9 916 372 40.6
2007 4,066 1,854 45.6 1,412 770 54.5 2,654 1,084 40.8
2008 6,018 2,903 48.2 1,566 980 62.6 4,452 1,923 43.2
2009 5,474 2,570 46.9 1,252 751 60.0 4,222 1,819 43.1
2010 1,487 732 49.2 426 275 64.6 1,061 457 43.1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through October 2011.
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. Number and percentage distribution of final medical allowances, by year of application and reason for allowance, 1992–2010
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 898,135 100.0 28.5 5.3 30.1 36.1
2003 928,777 100.0 27.1 5.1 31.1 36.7
2004 956,896 100.0 26.5 5.0 31.6 36.9
2005 902,638 100.0 26.7 4.7 32.2 36.5
2006 882,927 100.0 26.6 4.6 32.1 36.7
2007 903,774 100.0 26.4 4.7 33.1 35.9
2008 956,810 100.0 25.8 5.2 34.6 34.3
2009 1,037,685 100.0 25.8 5.5 37.8 30.8
2010 843,735 100.0 29.8 6.5 46.1 17.5
  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 823,976 100.0 29.0 5.6 31.4 34.0
2003 853,787 100.0 27.5 5.3 32.5 34.8
2004 879,988 100.0 26.8 5.2 33.0 35.0
2005 824,488 100.0 27.2 4.9 33.8 34.1
2006 804,673 100.0 27.1 4.8 33.8 34.3
2007 819,828 100.0 26.8 4.9 35.0 33.3
2008 865,693 100.0 26.4 5.6 36.8 31.3
2009 943,015 100.0 26.4 5.9 40.1 27.6
2010 757,513 100.0 30.9 7.0 49.6 12.6
  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 30,606 100.0 11.4 2.1 26.6 59.9
2003 30,016 100.0 10.8 2.2 26.2 60.8
2004 30,470 100.0 10.2 1.9 26.4 61.5
2005 29,940 100.0 9.9 1.7 25.8 62.7
2006 29,191 100.0 9.7 1.5 24.4 64.4
2007 29,390 100.0 9.2 1.6 24.5 64.7
2008 30,977 100.0 8.7 1.7 25.0 64.5
2009 31,256 100.0 8.4 1.9 26.9 62.7
2010 29,165 100.0 8.8 2.1 28.3 60.8
  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 43,553 100.0 31.8 2.9 7.6 57.7
2003 44,974 100.0 31.0 2.7 8.2 58.1
2004 46,438 100.0 30.4 2.8 8.6 58.2
2005 48,210 100.0 28.8 2.5 8.4 60.3
2006 49,063 100.0 28.6 2.6 8.9 59.8
2007 54,556 100.0 28.5 2.6 9.1 59.9
2008 60,140 100.0 26.8 2.6 8.7 62.0
2009 63,414 100.0 25.9 2.6 9.1 62.4
2010 57,057 100.0 26.8 2.7 9.2 61.3
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2011. Data for the hearing level or above are current through October 2011.
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 64. Number and percentage distribution of final medical denials, by year of application and reason for denial, 1992–2010
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 584,743 100.0 8.5 17.1 28.2 31.3 14.9
2003 637,051 100.0 7.5 17.7 28.2 31.7 14.9
2004 686,311 100.0 6.8 18.4 27.6 31.6 15.6
2005 651,935 100.0 6.5 19.1 26.7 31.5 16.2
2006 663,084 100.0 6.3 19.8 26.2 31.4 16.3
2007 645,623 100.0 6.3 20.4 26.3 30.9 16.1
2008 640,971 100.0 5.9 21.6 25.8 30.7 16.0
2009 721,225 100.0 4.9 22.8 25.1 31.1 16.1
2010 700,766 100.0 4.6 23.6 24.3 30.1 17.4
  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 555,013 100.0 8.8 16.8 29.2 30.6 14.7
2003 604,037 100.0 7.7 17.4 29.2 31.0 14.6
2004 650,584 100.0 7.0 18.1 28.6 30.9 15.4
2005 616,410 100.0 6.7 18.9 27.7 30.7 16.0
2006 622,363 100.0 6.5 19.5 27.4 30.6 16.0
2007 602,321 100.0 6.7 20.1 27.7 29.9 15.7
2008 597,269 100.0 6.2 21.3 27.2 29.6 15.6
2009 671,262 100.0 5.2 22.7 26.5 29.9 15.8
2010 649,564 100.0 4.9 23.4 25.8 28.8 17.1
  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 9,151 100.0 4.7 26.2 32.4 23.7 13.0
2003 9,761 100.0 4.2 26.5 32.7 23.4 13.3
2004 10,045 100.0 3.5 26.6 32.1 23.4 14.4
2005 9,706 100.0 3.5 26.8 32.0 23.1 14.7
2006 10,148 100.0 3.7 25.8 31.3 23.4 15.7
2007 9,164 100.0 3.7 27.5 31.0 21.9 15.8
2008 8,589 100.0 3.4 27.9 30.6 21.8 16.3
2009 8,704 100.0 2.9 29.1 30.0 21.7 16.4
2010 8,961 100.0 2.9 28.7 28.0 23.7 16.7
  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 20,579 100.0 2.3 21.6 0.8 53.6 21.7
2003 23,253 100.0 2.0 21.8 0.7 53.6 21.9
2004 25,682 100.0 1.9 22.1 0.5 52.5 23.0
2005 25,819 100.0 1.8 21.1 0.4 53.1 23.6
2006 30,573 100.0 1.7 23.5 0.4 50.6 23.8
2007 34,138 100.0 1.6 23.9 0.3 50.0 24.2
2008 35,113 100.0 1.5 24.8 0.2 50.8 22.7
2009 41,259 100.0 1.2 23.4 0.1 52.9 22.3
2010 42,241 100.0 1.3 24.5 0.1 51.4 22.6
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2011. Data for the hearing level or above are current through October 2011.
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.