Each Spring, the SSA releases statistics from the previous fiscal year in an easy to understand format, the "waterfall" chart. The chart shows the percentage of claims approved and denied at the various levels of review. Here is the latest chart, for FY 2013:
The chart shows that allowed claims are down at every level of review, and Appeals Council remands are down as well.
I have been highlighting the annual waterfall chart on this blog for 5 years. Back in 2008-2009, ALJ allowances were steady at 63%. From that baseline, we now see a 15-point reduction to 2013.
2010 was similar to the 2 previous years, with ALJ allowances at 62%. Since then however, each year we have seen significant reductions in allowed claims. 2011 had an allowance rate of 58%. In 2012, it fell further, to 52%. And now, we have the 2013 numbers, with 48% of claims granted at the hearing level. As I said, this documents a 15-point reduction in allowed claims in the past few years.