Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2012

 

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, 2002–2010

The final award rate for disabled-worker applicants has varied over time, averaging 41 percent for claims filed from 2002 through 2010. The percentage of applicants awarded benefits at the initial claims level averaged 26 percent over the same period and ranged from a high of 31 percent to a low of 24 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 58 percent.

Area chart linked to data in table format.
SOURCE: Tables 59–64.
NOTES: Data not shown for 2011 because incomplete data were available for some outcomes. Complete data will be included in next year's chart.
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 1,715,710 0 231,067 580,430 4,067 898,047 2,099 52.3 60.7
2003 1,941,894 0 374,305 632,304 4,485 928,727 2,073 47.8 59.5
2004 2,262,119 0 616,830 681,005 5,680 956,959 1,645 42.3 58.3
2005 2,087,733 791 529,698 645,251 7,023 902,980 1,990 43.3 58.2
2006 2,164,391 2,066 612,218 656,918 7,342 883,899 1,948 40.9 57.2
2007 2,216,565 5,493 652,791 642,173 7,987 906,279 1,842 41.0 58.3
2008 2,358,630 14,224 717,977 653,444 9,089 962,084 1,812 41.0 59.3
2009 2,753,012 48,760 845,763 754,352 10,764 1,091,502 1,871 40.4 58.9
2010 2,871,142 168,367 878,834 768,681 11,986 1,041,411 1,863 38.5 57.3
  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 1,609,480 0 228,455 550,985 4,011 823,981 2,048 51.2 59.9
2003 1,831,154 0 371,334 599,578 4,428 853,812 2,002 46.6 58.7
2004 2,145,629 0 612,791 645,503 5,627 880,114 1,594 41.0 57.6
2005 1,970,277 782 525,782 609,991 6,929 824,877 1,916 41.9 57.3
2006 2,040,679 2,038 607,438 616,413 7,234 805,668 1,888 39.5 56.5
2007 2,083,897 5,393 647,539 598,984 7,872 822,334 1,775 39.6 57.7
2008 2,217,127 13,888 712,378 609,365 8,953 870,798 1,745 39.5 58.6
2009 2,595,028 47,368 839,773 702,928 10,615 992,550 1,794 39.0 58.3
2010 2,706,889 163,599 872,660 714,027 11,841 942,947 1,815 37.1 56.6
  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 41,065 0 1,540 8,941 18 30,547 19 74.4 77.4
2003 41,243 0 1,645 9,553 24 29,977 44 72.7 75.9
2004 42,449 0 2,072 9,900 22 30,431 24 71.7 75.5
2005 41,409 4 1,895 9,550 27 29,909 24 72.2 75.8
2006 41,468 12 2,194 10,021 38 29,180 23 70.4 74.4
2007 40,781 34 2,212 9,091 28 29,389 27 72.1 76.4
2008 42,140 98 2,329 8,633 33 31,026 21 73.8 78.2
2009 44,059 337 2,548 8,784 43 32,327 20 73.9 78.6
2010 46,055 1,358 2,652 9,214 38 32,774 19 73.3 78.0
  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 65,165 0 1,072 20,504 38 43,519 32 66.8 68.0
2003 69,497 0 1,326 23,173 33 44,938 27 64.7 66.0
2004 74,041 0 1,967 25,602 31 46,414 27 62.7 64.5
2005 76,047 5 2,021 25,710 67 48,194 50 63.4 65.2
2006 82,244 16 2,586 30,484 70 49,051 37 59.7 61.7
2007 91,887 66 3,040 34,098 87 54,556 40 59.4 61.5
2008 99,363 238 3,270 35,446 103 60,260 46 60.8 62.9
2009 113,925 1,055 3,442 42,640 106 66,625 57 59.0 61.0
2010 118,198 3,410 3,522 45,440 107 65,690 29 57.2 59.1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data not shown for 2011 because incomplete data were available for some outcomes. Complete data will be included in next year's table.
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, 1992–2011
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 1,484,685 575,089 38.7 794,839 385,453 48.5 689,846 189,636 27.5
2003 1,567,607 583,758 37.2 804,688 383,225 47.6 762,919 200,533 26.3
2004 1,645,320 602,124 36.6 813,006 387,971 47.7 832,314 214,153 25.7
2005 1,558,072 573,335 36.8 762,437 369,349 48.4 795,635 203,986 25.6
2006 1,552,192 560,017 36.1 752,183 362,042 48.1 800,009 197,975 24.7
2007 1,563,809 580,915 37.1 756,227 376,131 49.7 807,582 204,784 25.4
2008 1,640,627 633,732 38.6 782,606 407,875 52.1 858,021 225,857 26.3
2009 1,907,066 732,859 38.4 921,567 479,943 52.1 985,499 252,916 25.7
2010 1,991,486 730,522 36.7 981,743 489,448 49.9 1,009,743 241,074 23.9
2011 1,922,833 676,813 35.2 958,273 458,262 47.8 964,560 218,551 22.7
  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 1,381,065 507,031 36.7 718,611 327,294 45.5 662,454 179,737 27.1
2003 1,459,838 514,871 35.3 728,169 324,769 44.6 731,669 190,102 26.0
2004 1,532,869 531,109 34.6 737,030 328,862 44.6 795,839 202,247 25.4
2005 1,444,532 501,089 34.7 685,218 308,900 45.1 759,314 192,189 25.3
2006 1,433,260 487,670 34.0 674,499 301,953 44.8 758,761 185,717 24.5
2007 1,436,398 504,097 35.1 675,129 313,216 46.4 761,269 190,881 25.1
2008 1,504,729 551,194 36.6 696,989 340,000 48.8 807,740 211,194 26.1
2009 1,755,092 643,307 36.7 830,006 406,985 49.0 925,086 236,322 25.5
2010 1,833,440 639,982 34.9 888,459 415,410 46.8 944,981 224,572 23.8
2011 1,775,354 594,349 33.5 871,697 390,695 44.8 903,657 203,654 22.5
  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 39,526 26,489 67.0 30,891 22,751 73.6 8,635 3,738 43.3
2003 39,598 25,960 65.6 30,216 22,213 73.5 9,382 3,747 39.9
2004 40,377 26,555 65.8 29,575 22,205 75.1 10,802 4,350 40.3
2005 39,514 26,151 66.2 29,198 21,989 75.3 10,316 4,162 40.3
2006 39,274 25,478 64.9 28,450 21,370 75.1 10,824 4,108 38.0
2007 38,569 25,471 66.0 27,585 21,161 76.7 10,984 4,310 39.2
2008 39,811 26,728 67.1 28,194 22,167 78.6 11,617 4,561 39.3
2009 41,505 27,778 66.9 28,926 22,782 78.8 12,579 4,996 39.7
2010 43,400 28,739 66.2 29,984 23,521 78.4 13,416 5,218 38.9
2011 40,879 26,679 65.3 28,101 21,933 78.1 12,778 4,746 37.1
  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 64,094 41,569 64.9 45,337 35,408 78.1 18,757 6,161 32.8
2003 68,171 42,927 63.0 46,303 36,243 78.3 21,868 6,684 30.6
2004 72,074 44,460 61.7 46,401 36,904 79.5 25,673 7,556 29.4
2005 74,026 46,095 62.3 48,021 38,460 80.1 26,005 7,635 29.4
2006 79,658 46,869 58.8 49,234 38,719 78.6 30,424 8,150 26.8
2007 88,842 51,347 57.8 53,513 41,754 78.0 35,329 9,593 27.2
2008 96,087 55,810 58.1 57,423 45,708 79.6 38,664 10,102 26.1
2009 110,469 61,774 55.9 62,635 50,176 80.1 47,834 11,598 24.2
2010 114,646 61,801 53.9 63,300 50,517 79.8 51,346 11,284 22.0
2011 106,600 55,785 52.3 58,475 45,634 78.0 48,125 10,151 21.1
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2012.
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, 1992–2011
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 502,441 57,460 11.4 249,822 31,212 12.5 252,619 26,248 10.4
2003 542,986 57,869 10.7 258,354 30,344 11.7 284,632 27,525 9.7
2004 558,585 56,536 10.1 255,237 28,941 11.3 303,348 27,595 9.1
2005 514,237 51,028 9.9 231,206 26,339 11.4 283,031 24,689 8.7
2006 514,372 50,415 9.8 227,854 25,868 11.4 286,518 24,547 8.6
2007 519,178 56,558 10.9 224,375 29,642 13.2 294,803 26,916 9.1
2008 546,360 59,170 10.8 222,832 29,917 13.4 323,528 29,253 9.0
2009 644,144 65,351 10.1 264,414 33,739 12.8 379,730 31,612 8.3
2010 698,994 63,975 9.2 295,992 34,582 11.7 403,002 29,393 7.3
2011 615,069 49,603 8.1 266,086 28,093 10.6 348,983 21,510 6.2
  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 489,974 54,974 11.2 243,259 30,157 12.4 246,715 24,817 10.1
2003 529,775 55,343 10.4 252,226 29,348 11.6 277,549 25,995 9.4
2004 545,135 54,091 9.9 249,524 28,032 11.2 295,611 26,059 8.8
2005 501,338 48,659 9.7 225,664 25,480 11.3 275,674 23,179 8.4
2006 500,846 47,990 9.6 222,400 25,086 11.3 278,446 22,904 8.2
2007 503,402 54,077 10.7 218,608 28,793 13.2 284,794 25,284 8.9
2008 527,714 56,811 10.8 216,909 29,085 13.4 310,805 27,726 8.9
2009 621,607 62,611 10.1 257,950 32,849 12.7 363,657 29,762 8.2
2010 675,389 61,400 9.1 289,565 33,734 11.6 385,824 27,666 7.2
2011 595,813 47,725 8.0 260,774 27,416 10.5 335,039 20,309 6.1
  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 6,390 1,392 21.8 3,996 649 16.2 2,394 743 31.0
2003 6,665 1,378 20.7 3,832 637 16.6 2,833 741 26.2
2004 6,474 1,349 20.8 3,456 566 16.4 3,018 783 25.9
2005 6,104 1,223 20.0 3,329 526 15.8 2,775 697 25.1
2006 5,984 1,172 19.6 3,119 437 14.0 2,865 735 25.7
2007 5,948 1,097 18.4 2,887 451 15.6 3,061 646 21.1
2008 6,347 908 14.3 2,858 389 13.6 3,489 519 14.9
2009 6,986 1,070 15.3 3,043 447 14.7 3,943 623 15.8
2010 7,376 1,024 13.9 3,113 449 14.4 4,263 575 13.5
2011 6,391 840 13.1 2,632 378 14.4 3,759 462 12.3
  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 6,077 1,094 18.0 2,567 406 15.8 3,510 688 19.6
2003 6,546 1,148 17.5 2,296 359 15.6 4,250 789 18.6
2004 6,976 1,096 15.7 2,257 343 15.2 4,719 753 16.0
2005 6,795 1,146 16.9 2,213 333 15.0 4,582 813 17.7
2006 7,542 1,253 16.6 2,335 345 14.8 5,207 908 17.4
2007 9,828 1,384 14.1 2,880 398 13.8 6,948 986 14.2
2008 12,299 1,451 11.8 3,065 443 14.5 9,234 1,008 10.9
2009 15,551 1,670 10.7 3,421 443 12.9 12,130 1,227 10.1
2010 16,229 1,551 9.6 3,314 399 12.0 12,915 1,152 8.9
2011 12,865 1,038 8.1 2,680 299 11.2 10,185 739 7.3
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through June 2012.
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, 1992–2011
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 369,875 267,597 72.3 189,671 150,834 79.5 180,204 116,763 64.8
2003 401,746 289,173 72.0 197,765 157,553 79.7 203,981 131,620 64.5
2004 415,319 299,944 72.2 196,697 158,738 80.7 218,622 141,206 64.6
2005 383,505 280,607 73.2 177,954 144,676 81.3 205,551 135,931 66.1
2006 384,868 275,415 71.6 175,541 140,898 80.3 209,327 134,517 64.3
2007 381,783 270,648 70.9 167,870 134,455 80.1 213,913 136,193 63.7
2008 390,672 270,994 69.4 162,564 129,369 79.6 228,108 141,625 62.1
2009 431,932 295,163 68.3 183,381 144,651 78.9 248,551 150,512 60.6
2010 365,647 248,777 68.0 166,042 130,557 78.6 199,605 118,220 59.2
2011 89,663 64,102 71.5 46,706 37,933 81.2 42,957 26,169 60.9
  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 364,659 264,024 72.4 185,830 148,078 79.7 178,829 115,946 64.8
2003 396,351 285,600 72.1 194,232 155,047 79.8 202,119 130,553 64.6
2004 410,140 296,508 72.3 193,463 156,392 80.8 216,677 140,116 64.7
2005 378,414 277,045 73.2 174,737 142,246 81.4 203,677 134,799 66.2
2006 379,641 271,896 71.6 172,312 138,588 80.4 207,329 133,308 64.3
2007 374,022 265,935 71.1 164,486 132,087 80.3 209,536 133,848 63.9
2008 379,739 264,538 69.7 158,846 126,662 79.7 220,893 137,876 62.4
2009 419,936 288,426 68.7 179,678 141,982 79.0 240,258 146,444 61.0
2010 355,895 243,380 68.4 162,916 128,276 78.7 192,979 115,104 59.6
2011 87,373 62,701 71.8 45,793 37,248 81.3 41,580 25,453 61.2
  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 3,438 2,685 78.1 2,654 2,109 79.5 784 576 73.5
2003 3,525 2,683 76.1 2,438 1,914 78.5 1,087 769 70.7
2004 3,241 2,551 78.7 2,199 1,786 81.2 1,042 765 73.4
2005 3,183 2,559 80.4 2,163 1,796 83.0 1,020 763 74.8
2006 3,161 2,553 80.8 2,080 1,716 82.5 1,081 837 77.4
2007 3,607 2,848 79.0 1,944 1,592 81.9 1,663 1,256 75.5
2008 4,304 3,411 79.3 2,006 1,684 83.9 2,298 1,727 75.2
2009 4,431 3,499 79.0 2,009 1,696 84.4 2,422 1,803 74.4
2010 3,849 3,030 78.7 1,753 1,493 85.2 2,096 1,537 73.3
2011 1,090 880 80.7 556 472 84.9 534 408 76.4
  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 1,778 888 49.9 1,187 647 54.5 591 241 40.8
2003 1,870 890 47.6 1,095 592 54.1 775 298 38.5
2004 1,938 885 45.7 1,035 560 54.1 903 325 36.0
2005 1,908 1,003 52.6 1,054 634 60.2 854 369 43.2
2006 2,066 966 46.8 1,149 594 51.7 917 372 40.6
2007 4,154 1,865 44.9 1,440 776 53.9 2,714 1,089 40.1
2008 6,629 3,045 45.9 1,712 1,023 59.8 4,917 2,022 41.1
2009 7,565 3,238 42.8 1,694 973 57.4 5,871 2,265 38.6
2010 5,903 2,367 40.1 1,373 788 57.4 4,530 1,579 34.9
2011 1,200 521 43.4 357 213 59.7 843 308 36.5
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data are current through July 2012.
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, 1992–2011
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 898,047 100.0 28.5 5.3 30.1 36.1
2003 928,727 100.0 27.1 5.1 31.1 36.7
2004 956,959 100.0 26.5 5.0 31.6 36.9
2005 902,980 100.0 26.7 4.7 32.2 36.5
2006 883,899 100.0 26.6 4.6 32.1 36.8
2007 906,279 100.0 26.3 4.6 33.0 36.1
2008 962,084 100.0 25.7 5.2 34.4 34.7
2009 1,091,502 100.0 24.6 5.3 36.1 33.9
2010 1,041,411 100.0 24.8 5.5 38.9 30.9
2011 789,426 100.0 29.6 6.5 48.6 15.3
  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 823,981 100.0 29.0 5.6 31.4 34.0
2003 853,812 100.0 27.5 5.3 32.5 34.8
2004 880,114 100.0 26.8 5.2 33.0 35.0
2005 824,877 100.0 27.1 4.9 33.8 34.1
2006 805,668 100.0 27.1 4.8 33.8 34.4
2007 822,334 100.0 26.8 4.9 34.9 33.5
2008 870,798 100.0 26.2 5.5 36.5 31.7
2009 992,550 100.0 25.2 5.6 38.3 31.0
2010 942,947 100.0 25.4 5.8 41.4 27.4
2011 703,698 100.0 30.8 7.0 52.7 9.5
  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 30,547 100.0 11.4 2.1 26.5 60.0
2003 29,977 100.0 10.8 2.2 26.1 60.9
2004 30,431 100.0 10.2 1.9 26.3 61.5
2005 29,909 100.0 9.8 1.7 25.8 62.7
2006 29,180 100.0 9.6 1.5 24.4 64.4
2007 29,389 100.0 9.2 1.6 24.5 64.7
2008 31,026 100.0 8.7 1.7 24.9 64.6
2009 32,327 100.0 8.2 1.9 26.2 63.7
2010 32,774 100.0 8.0 1.9 26.3 63.7
2011 28,391 100.0 8.8 1.9 28.3 60.9
  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 43,519 100.0 31.7 2.9 7.6 57.8
2003 44,938 100.0 31.0 2.7 8.2 58.2
2004 46,414 100.0 30.4 2.8 8.6 58.3
2005 48,194 100.0 28.8 2.5 8.4 60.3
2006 49,051 100.0 28.6 2.6 8.9 59.9
2007 54,556 100.0 28.4 2.6 9.1 59.9
2008 60,260 100.0 26.7 2.6 8.6 62.1
2009 66,625 100.0 25.0 2.5 8.8 63.7
2010 65,690 100.0 24.3 2.4 8.6 64.7
2011 57,337 100.0 25.1 2.6 8.6 63.7
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2012. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2012.
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, 1992–2011
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 584,497 100.0 8.5 17.1 28.2 31.3 14.9
2003 636,789 100.0 7.5 17.7 28.3 31.8 14.9
2004 686,685 100.0 6.8 18.4 27.6 31.6 15.6
2005 652,274 100.0 6.5 19.1 26.7 31.5 16.2
2006 664,260 100.0 6.3 19.7 26.3 31.5 16.3
2007 650,160 100.0 6.3 20.4 26.3 31.0 16.0
2008 662,533 100.0 5.8 21.5 25.9 31.2 15.6
2009 765,116 100.0 4.8 22.7 25.2 31.7 15.6
2010 780,667 100.0 4.3 23.8 24.3 31.1 16.4
2011 681,009 100.0 4.7 24.6 21.4 33.5 15.8
  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 554,996 100.0 8.8 16.8 29.2 30.6 14.7
2003 604,006 100.0 7.7 17.4 29.2 31.0 14.6
2004 651,130 100.0 7.0 18.1 28.6 30.9 15.4
2005 616,920 100.0 6.7 18.9 27.7 30.7 15.9
2006 623,647 100.0 6.5 19.5 27.4 30.6 15.9
2007 606,856 100.0 6.6 20.1 27.7 30.0 15.6
2008 618,318 100.0 6.1 21.2 27.3 30.1 15.2
2009 713,543 100.0 5.0 22.6 26.6 30.6 15.2
2010 725,868 100.0 4.5 23.7 25.8 29.9 16.1
2011 631,552 100.0 5.0 24.5 22.7 32.4 15.5
  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 8,959 100.0 4.8 25.5 32.9 23.9 13.0
2003 9,577 100.0 4.2 25.7 33.1 23.7 13.3
2004 9,922 100.0 3.5 26.1 32.4 23.6 14.4
2005 9,577 100.0 3.6 26.2 32.3 23.3 14.6
2006 10,059 100.0 3.8 25.4 31.6 23.6 15.6
2007 9,119 100.0 3.7 27.1 31.3 22.0 15.8
2008 8,666 100.0 3.4 27.6 30.9 21.9 16.2
2009 8,827 100.0 2.8 28.9 30.2 21.9 16.2
2010 9,252 100.0 2.8 29.6 27.8 23.6 16.2
2011 8,580 100.0 3.3 27.6 27.7 25.2 16.2
  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 20,542 100.0 2.3 21.6 0.8 53.6 21.7
2003 23,206 100.0 2.0 21.8 0.7 53.6 21.9
2004 25,633 100.0 1.9 22.0 0.5 52.6 23.0
2005 25,777 100.0 1.8 21.1 0.4 53.0 23.6
2006 30,554 100.0 1.8 23.5 0.4 50.6 23.8
2007 34,185 100.0 1.6 23.9 0.3 50.0 24.1
2008 35,549 100.0 1.5 24.8 0.2 51.0 22.6
2009 42,746 100.0 1.2 23.4 0.1 53.3 22.0
2010 45,547 100.0 1.3 24.7 0.1 52.4 21.6
2011 40,877 100.0 1.1 25.9 0.0 51.3 21.6
SOURCE: Social Security Administration, Disability Research file, 100 percent data.
NOTES: Data for the initial and reconsideration levels are current through June 2012. Data for the hearing level or above are current through July 2012.
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.