Increasing Your Profits with Disability Approval Rates

Submitted by Deanna on Tue, 10/27/2015 - 16:35

If you’ve had any experience with Social Security disability cases, you’ll know that most claims are rejected at the initial stage. In fact, nearly 70% of all applicants need to go through an appeals process to win their claim.

This low approval rate is due to a variety of factors. Many disability applicants are simply not eligible for benefits. They may not have strong medical evidence to support their claim, they’ve never earned enough work credits to qualify for SSDI, or they have a household income too high to qualify for SSI.

Another reason why approval is low is because there are not enough current workers to support the number of retired or disabled employees. With baby boomers at the age of retirement, more Americans are applying for Social Security disability benefits than ever before. Although the future of federal funding is unclear, it is possible that Social Security recipients will see a 20% benefit cut next year.

Even with the staggering statistics against initial approval rates, there are many reasons to take a client at the initial stage of the application. If your client is just applying, he or she could have a better chance of being approved depending on the state in which you practice law. This is the case because there may be a smaller pool of disability examiners in less populous states, or even less applicants overall.

Consider Wyoming, for example. Wyoming’s initial approval rate is above 50%, which is significantly higher than the average national approval rate. If you take Social Security disability cases in Salt Lake City, UT or Denver, CO, you could increase your legal caseload and your percentage of won cases by taking case leads from a nearby state that has a higher initial approval rate, such as Wyoming.

Another benefit of knowing states’ initial approval rate is that you could retain clients that would typically be a lost cause in states with a low initial approval rate. Let’s say you have a large firm that takes clients in the south. You get two leads, one from Mississippi, one from Louisiana. Both are 50-year-old women applying for disability benefits for bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a notoriously challenging claim, especially at the approval stage. But an applicant in Louisiana has a 40% higher chance of being approved at the initial claim than an applicant in Mississippi, even though the two states border each other. You could decide to only pursue the Louisiana case knowing that it will have a much higher chance of being approved overall.

Here are the average statewide Social Security disability initial approval rates:

State

Initial Approval Rate

ALABAMA

29.70%

ALASKA

44.70%

ARIZONA

28.50%

ARKANSAS

29.40%

CALIFORNIA

32.50%

COLORADO

30.90%

CONNECTICUT

30.20%

DELAWARE

34.30%

DIST OF COLUMBIA

37.40%

FLORIDA

29.10%

GEORGIA

25.70%

HAWAII

33.70%

IDAHO

32.50%

ILLINOIS

32.40%

INDIANA

29.90%

IOWA

36.90%

KANSAS

36.60%

KENTUCKY

24.10%

LOUISIANA

34.90%

MAINE

29.70%

MARYLAND

28.50%

MASSACHUSETTS

40.70%

MICHIGAN

30.60%

MINNESOTA

34.40%

MISSISSIPPI

24.80%

MISSOURI

33.60%

MONTANA

34.40%

NEBRASKA

36.70%

NEVADA

35.50%

NEW HAMPSHIRE

49.80%

NEW JERSEY

41.30%

NEW MEXICO

37.00%

NEW YORK

38.00%

NORTH CAROLINA

27.90%

NORTH DAKOTA

41.90%

OHIO

32.00%

OKLAHOMA

32.40%

OREGON

32.00%

PENNSYLVANIA

33.00%

RHODE ISLAND

33.00%

SOUTH CAROLINA

30.60%

SOUTH DAKOTA

40.00%

TENNESSEE

25.40%

TEXAS

32.80%

UTAH

34.20%

VERMONT

40.70%

VIRGINIA

38.50%

WASHINGTON

35.70%

WEST VIRGINIA

25.50%

WISCONSIN

35.60%

WYOMING

53.60%

Some states, no matter how high the approval rate, are not feasible for most attorneys to take cases in (I’m looking at you, Alaska). But if you do have a national firm or are willing to cross state borders, consider taking cases outside of your neighborhood.

Going to NOSSCR in Denver this week? We’ll be there too! Stop by and say hello at one of our booths. To discuss lead availability or simply the lead generation services we offer, give us a call today at 617.800.0089.