February 23, 2022

Award Rate Percentages for SSDI Initial Applications and Reconsiderations Fell in 2021

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reported that the agency approved 36% of initial claims for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in FY2021, compared to 39% of applicants the previous year. The allowance rate at the reconsideration level also dropped, by 1% YOY. Favorable decision rates for those appealing for benefits at the hearing level were up, from 49% in FY2020 to 51% in 2021. The agency released the 2021 data in response to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by Allsup.

Initial applications for SSDI benefits have declined the past two years while the SSA’s average processing time has increased by several months. The backlog of SSDI appeals continues to grow at the reconsideration level. In addition, the SSA conducted 100,000 less hearings for FY2021 than the previous year.

The recent data point to a two-year or longer wait for a decision for a large majority of former workers seeking disability benefits.

Mary Dale Walters
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Mary Dale Walters

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