What states have the highest disability approval rates?

Submitted by Bryan on

Disability benefits are available to those who suffer from medical conditions that make it so they are unable to work. Paid through the Social Security Administration (SSA), disability benefits can help you cover costs associated with medical bills and living expenses.

The rate of approval for disability benefits varies from state to state, but there are certain tips you can try in an effort to boost your own chances for approval.

States with Top Disability Benefit Approval Rates

The rate of approval is calculated at each state of the disability benefit application process, including:

  • Initial application
  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing

Compared to the national average for disability benefit approval rates, Hawaii, Utah, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Tennessee have some of the highest rates of approval. The current national average for approval rates is:

  • Initial application: 32%
  • Reconsideration: 11%
  • Hearing: 58%


In Hawaii, the approval rates are well above the national average, and the hearing wait time is an average of 299 days, compared to the national average of 349 days.

  • Initial application: 33.4%
  • Reconsideration: 15.8%
  • Hearing: 78.6


Utah also has a high success rate for disability benefits approval, although the hearing wait time is slightly higher than the national average, at 357 days.

  • Initial application: 36.7%
  • Reconsideration: 10.6%
  • Hearing: 69.2%
Do disability approval rates vary by state?

New Mexico

In New Mexico, the approval rates for disability benefits are above average, but the hearing wait time is an average of 411 days, compared to 349.

  • Initial application: 35.9%
  • Reconsideration: 15%
  • Hearing: 73.5%

New Jersey

New Jersey has a high approval rate for disability benefits, especially at the initial application stage. There is also a longer average hearing wait time of 423 days.

  • Initial application: 43.2%
  • Reconsideration: 14.3%
  • Hearing (fully favorable outcome): 59.4%
  • Hearing (partially favorable outcome): 3.5%


Tennessee has approval rates around or below average at the initial application and reconsideration stages, but the rate of approval for the hearing state is a lot higher than the national average. The wait for a hearing is an average of 376 days.

  • Initial application: 24%
  • Reconsideration: 8.7%
  • Hearing: 62.9%

Ways You Can Increase Your Chances for Approval

To improve your chances of being approved for disability benefits, there are a few actions you can take that may help.

First, it may be best that you receive the support from the physician treating your disability, who can write statements for your application.

You should also include thorough and current medical records, and continue to submit them to the SSA as new information becomes available.

Be sure to fully cooperate with the disability examiner working on your case, go to any requested medical exams and appointments, and keep up to date with any application deadlines, as well as the status of your case.

Lastly, you should consider hiring a disability benefits lawyer or advocate who can help you with your initial application, as well as any appeals, if applicable. A lawyer can make sure that you maximize your chances of being approved for benefits so that you can get the financial assistance you need.

Additional Resources

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Anonymous (not verified)

How long before I receive my

How long before I receive my backpay

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 20:09 Permalink

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