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Disability Chartbook


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XI. Federal Courts

Contents:
Chart 1: New Disability Cases Brought to Federal District Courts (FY 1993-2013)
Chart 2: Federal District Court Actions (FY 1995-2013)
Chart 3: Social Security Cases Commenced and Terminated in U.S. Courts of Appeals (FY 1997-2013)

 
Charts

Chart 1: New Disability Cases Brought to Federal District Courts (FY 1993-2013)

Last Updated February 2015


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Generally, disability cases taken to Federal district courts declined from 2002 through 2010, both in number and in relative terms.  In 2002 there were 17,052 new DI and SSI court cases, which represented 6.2 percent of all new civil cases.  In 2010 there were 13,229, representing only 4.7 percent of all new civil cases.  After 2010, however, the number of disability court cases has increased again.  In 2013, there were 19,041 new DI and SSI court cases (6.7 percent of all new civil cases). 

 

Chart 2a: Number of Federal District Court Actions (FY 1995-2013)

Last Updated February 2015


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Chart 2b: Percent Distribution of Federal District Court Actions (FY 1995-2013)

Last Updated February 2015


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Since 1995, Federal courts have reversed relatively few agency decisions.  The reversal rate was 6 percent or higher from 1995 through 2002, but since then it has dropped to less than 3 percent in 2011 to 2013.

Of the remaining cases, the courts affirm about half of SSA’s decisions, and remand the other half back to the agency.  A large percentage of cases remanded are subsequently allowed by SSA.  Figures shown here include all Social Security program litigation, of which disability cases account for about 95 percent.
 

Chart 3: Social Security Cases Commenced and Terminated in U.S. Courts of Appeals (FY 1997-2013)

Last Updated February 2015

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The number of Social Security cases appealed to the U.S. courts of appeals has varied somewhat over the years shown but has not exceeded 2 percent of all cases taken to those courts.  Commenced refers to cases that are filed; terminated refers to cases that are actually decided.