Highest Disability Approval Rates By State

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Highest Disability Approval Rates By State

If you’re applying for or considering applying for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits, you’ve probably heard that denial rates are high. You may also know that if you appeal, you can wait a long time for a hearing. What you may not know is that both approval rates and the wait time for an appeal hearing differ based on geography. In other words, the chances of an initial SSD claim being approved are higher in some states than others. 

In the first quarter of 2024, approval rates for initial claims for SSD only ranged from 34.8% in the state with the lowest approval rate to 57.4%. Just five states had initial SSD approval rates higher than 50%: 

  • New Hampshire – 57.4%
  • North Dakota – 56%
  • Vermont – 54%
  • Nebraska – 52.7%
  • Rhode Island – 51.5%

Most states had initial SSD application approval rates of between 40% and 50%. But, a handful of states had rates below 50%, including: 

  • Oklahoma – 39.7%
  • Florida – 39.6%
  • Georgia – 39.4%
  • Nevada – 38.8%
  • Tennessee – 38.3%
  • Arizona – 34.8%

Why are State SSD Approval Rates So Different? 

There are several factors that may play a role in the SSD approval rate in a given state. It’s also worth noting that state populations vary significantly, meaning that the sample sizes are much different. For example, in Alaska, 313 initial SSD-only claims were decided in Q1 of 2024. During the same time period, more than 16,000 such claims were decided in California. 

Outcomes in a given state may be affected by variables such as: 

  • How strictly applications are assessed by the team responsible for a particular location
  • Access to quality medical care in the area, which in turn impacts the applicant’s ability to assemble solid medical documentation
  • The average age of the population, since older claimants are more likely to be approved
  • The availability of quality assistance with the application process

While it may be useful to know what to expect in terms of the likelihood of approval at the initial application stage in your state, it’s more important to focus on the factors that are within your control.

While most disabled workers aren’t in a position to relocate to a more favorable state to improve their odds of SSD approval, you can: 

  • Reliably see your doctor and any necessary specialists, ensuring that you’ve established a thorough record of your condition
  • Follow through with testing and treatment recommendations
  • Assemble a complete, effective application with the right type of documentation
  • Know when to get help

An Experienced Disability Benefits Advocate Can Help

The SSD application process can be daunting. In the vast majority of states, more than half of initial applications are denied. You can’t afford to make mistakes or omit important supporting evidence. Fortunately, you don’t have to sort it out alone. To learn more about how our experienced disability benefits advocates can help, call 800-800-3332 right now, or fill out our contact form here.

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