Everybody who applies for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits does so because they need the help. After years of working and paying into the program, it should be there for those who fall into difficult times.

Yet it is not uncommon for applicants to receive a denial letter rather than the help they’re looking for. And it happens far more frequently than many people realize.

Most SSDI applications are initially denied

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, a research and policy institute, has an in-depth report about SSDI benefits. It includes this eye-catching figure: According to their data, only 23% of SSDI applications are allowed with the initial application.

That means more than three out of every four applications are denied from the outset. A rejection letter, understandably, can induce panic. In reality, a denied applicant still has many options.

Having an application reconsidered

The Social Security Administration can reject an SSDI application for a number of reasons. Sometimes it’s as simple as a clerical error or insufficient paperwork. Fortunately, denied applicants have an opportunity to appeal.

If your SSDI application results in a refusal, you can ask the agency to have a brand new reviewer reconsider your case. If that results in a second denial, there are three additional layers to the appeals process:

  • Requesting a hearing
  • Getting an Appeals Council review
  • Taking the case to the U.S. District Court

In some scenarios, coming back with a strong case that addresses concerns raised in the initial denial can help secure a reversal. While this won’t happen in every instance, those wrongly denied should know it’s possible to make a sound argument in your favor.