Close X

Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Is Social Security Taking Applicant Appeals Seriously?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Feb 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

Some new information came out recently about how many Social Security disability applicants get approved at each level of the process. According to

Your Odds Of Success Are The Same As Hers

what Social Security calls their "waterfall chart," the chances of Social Security approving you are very small.  This is notably true for two appeals in particular.

The 13% Solution

If Social Security denies your initial application (which they will) you are forced to file a so-called Request For Reconsideration (RFR). I always suspected that this level of appeal was designed for nothing more than delay.  An RFR slows an applicant down by 3-4 months, at least. And what are a Social Security disability applicant's chances of getting her RFR approved? 13% 

13% Beats 9%

Say you get an unfavorable decision from an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and decide to appeal that. The odds that the Appeals Council is going to send your case back for another hearing? Try 9%. Less than one in ten. It makes an RFR look like a slam dunk in comparison.

When you have two levels of appeal that are coming in at between 87% and 91% denials, that stops looking like a real appeal at all. It starts to look like a parlor trick. It starts to look like a con.

Something Is Wrong

These appalling numbers demonstrate that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way in which Social Security is handling disability claims.

You Don't Fight Fair . . .

The delay is bad enough. But the waterfall chart shows that something even worse could be happening. Remember that an ALJ has recently asserted that Social Security is pressuring judges to deny cases. There is no way to know for sure if this allegation is true. But, it sure seems more likely in light of these new numbers.

What do you think? A fair shake or a shakedown? Let me know. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

About Our Firm

John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

Free Consultation

Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.