Submitted by cgi on Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:34

Every year, I review what has changed to some key statistics for Social Security attorneys. Here are my previous posts from 2015 and 2014. When I last analyzed these statistics, the metrics had stabilized after consecutive years of negative trends to Social Security law firms. If 2015 was refreshing because the metrics stabilized, 2016 was quite positive for SSD lawyers, as some key statistics increased in the favor of disability attorneys and advocates.

Hearing Approval Rates

YearDeniedFully FavorablePartially FavorableTotal
2011 37.541756.65755.800862.4583

(compiled from

For the first time since I started looking at these numbers, Social Security hearing approval rates increased. While we are still a far cry from the 67% approval rate in 2010, there was a 1.33 percentage point increase between 2015 and 2016, which puts the approval rate in line with what we saw in 2013. Although it is slight, for every 100 hearings, another 1.33 were favorable. With an average fee of $3,027.06, firms would see an increase in revenue of $4,025 per 100 hearings.

Average Representative Fee

YearAvg Fee


For the fourth straight year, the average Social Security representative fee has increased. For the first time since 2011, the average fee was over three thousand dollars at $3,027.06. The $67.71 increase in fee would yield about an additional $3,706.44 in revenue per 100 hearings.

Number of Hearings Held to Decisions

YearDecisionsHearings HeldHearings Held to Decisions

(compiled from *projected at current pace

After an impressive 2015 for hearing decisions, 2016 was not great. The ratio of hearings held to decisions decreased from 96.0% in 2015 to 90.9% in 2016. This is not good news for attorneys because this suggests that the time it takes from the date of the hearing to the date of the decision has increased. While not wonderful news, it is not terrible either. The decrease in ratio of decisions to hearings means that profits will be simply delayed and not completely lost, which would be the case if approval rates decreased.

Volume of Disability Applications


(compiled from *projected at current pace

The volume of disability applications has continued to decrease since 2011. This does not seem to be a reason for concern because the space has also become less competitive over the past five years. After a huge influx of large national firms flocked to SSD in 2009-2011, some of the largest players have downsized, likely because the space became too competitive. We generate thousands of Social Security disability leads every week, and our weekly volume is higher than ever despite the decrease in applications.

Staffing Considerations

YearJudges Making Decisions

(compiled from *projected at current pace

The SSA has more judges than ever hearing Social Security cases. The number of judges increased from 1,601 in 2015 to 1,659 in 2016, which is the highest number this decade. The increase in judges was likely a contributing factor to the increase in hearings held from 563,893 in 2015 to 573,450 in 2016. Now that the number of judges and hearings held has increased, hopefully we will also see an increase in the number of decisions.

Looking back, the two most important metrics, approval rate and average fee, both increased for Social Security advocates and attorneys. While some of the other statistics did not benefit SSD representatives, they also did not harm them since the decrease in time for a decision only delayed profits. Overall, 2016 continued to improve for disability firms, and there is hope that 2017 will look even better.

Let's Connect!

If you'd like to speak with us today about purchasing Social Security, Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation or Employment Law Leads.

Call us today at 617.800.0089.

Our leads are exclusive so don't delay-Availability is limited.