Helpful Social Security Statistics

Helpful Social Security Statistics


At the LaPorte Law Firm, we ensure our clients are informed of relevant disability statistics so they know what to expect during the Social Security Disability process. Below we have provided the most recent publically available data on disability claim average approval rates at each stage of the process, average call wait times when contacting the Social Security Administration, and the number of video teleconference hearings at our local hearing offices.

Disability Approval Percentages

The Office of Disability Program Management Information has published the Social Security Disability Decision Data for 2018. This data gives us an insight into approval rates at each stage of the Social Security process. Keep in mind that these are averages and every case is different.

Stage of the Process Percentage Allowed Percentage Denied Percentage Dismissed Percentage Remanded
1. Initial Level 35% 65%
2. Reconsiderations 13% 87%
3. ALJ Hearing 43% 35% 21%
4. Appeals Council 1% 85% 4% 10%
5. Federal Court/td>

2% 42% 8% 48%

National 800 Number Data

The Social Security Administration has a national 800 number that takes millions of calls a year. This customer support phone number allows people to access information about the social security process. By calling 1-800-772-1213, you can access recorded information and conduct business 24 hours a day. In 2018, the 1-800 number handled 32 million calls. On average, it takes 24 minutes to speak with a Social Security employee representative.

Hearing Wait Times

Here are the current average wait times between the request for hearing and hearing date as of March 2019.

Hearing Office Number of Months
Honolulu 17
Oakland 15
Reno NV 19
Sacramento 18
San Francisco 19
Reno NV 19
San Jose 18
San Rafael 20
Stockton 11

At the LaPorte Law Firm we have noticed a decrease in wait times at all hearing offices at which we represent clients, most particularly the San Jose and Oakland hearing offices. Unless a few special exceptions apply, we are not able to speed up the process of hearing scheduling, but we can report that our clients are experiencing less wait time at the hearing level than the averages reported above. Most of our clients’ hearings are getting scheduled several months faster than the publically available averages noted above. We always take the first available hearing time in order to ensure our clients’ claims are resolved as quickly as possible. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss representation. Hiring an attorney improves your chances of approval at the hearing level.

Hearings Held In-Person or Via Video Conferencing

Claimants have the right to an in-person hearing before an administrative law judge. But a claimant may opt to attend the hearing via video teleconference. From September 29, 2018, to March 29, 2019, the Social Security Administration tracked the number of in-person hearings and video teleconference hearings at each office.

Hearing Office Total Number of Hearings In-Person Hearings Video Hearings
Honolulu 503 420 83
Oakland 1791 1320 471
Reno NV 557 294 263
Sacramento 1994 1527 467
San Francisco 703 395 308
San Jose 681 496 185
San Rafael 872 629 243
Stockton 1369 1138 231

Hiring a Disability Attorney Increases Approval Rates

According to a December 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office, disability claimants who were represented at their hearing were almost 3 times as likely as unrepresented claimants to achieve a favorable result.

Officials from the Social Security Administration believe that the higher approval rates for represented disability claimants can be attributed to a number of factors. First, under the law, attorneys only receive a fee if a case is successful, so attorneys tend to take cases they believe are meritorious. Also, attorneys ensure that medical records are submitted to the judge before the hearing, submit written briefs to the judge on the merits of the case, and help their clients orally present the case at the hearing.