What You Need To Know About Your Disability Benefits Denial
One of the most common questions about Social Security disability benefits is “How long will the process take?” Since most SSDI applicants are denied at the initial application stage, answering that question requires an understanding of the appeals process and how long it takes to move through each stage.
Here’s a rough timeline for SSDI appeals.
- The first step in the appeals process is to request reconsideration. This is by far the quickest step. The Social Security Administration (SSA) says it typically takes one to three months to get a ruling on your request for reconsideration. Note, though, that this represents actual time from filing the request to decision. You have 60 days from the denial of your application to request reconsideration. So, the actual time between receiving your denial notice and receiving a decision on your request for reconsideration of disability benefits could be one to five months, depending on how quickly you file. In some cases, it may take longer.
The SSA says it typically takes three to five months to receive a decision on your initial disability benefits application. Many applicants report that it actually takes a bit longer. So, depending on how long you take to request reconsideration and how long it takes to receive a response, you may get a ruling on your request for reconsideration at any time between six months from your original application date to 10 months or more.
- The second step is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Again, you have 60 days after receiving a decision on your request for reconsideration to request this hearing. The time between requesting this hearing and the hearing date ranges between several months and two years or more. And, that’s just how long you’ll wait for the hearing. A decision from the ALJ may arrive a few weeks or a few months after the hearing.
Depending on how quickly you request a hearing, where you live, and how long it takes the ALJ to make a decision, the time from denial on reconsideration and a determination from the ALJ could be about 10 months or more than two years. For most applicants, it will be more than a year. Add in the time it took to reach this stage and the ALJ decision may come between roughly 18 months and three years after the initial application.
- The next step is to request review by the Appeals Council. Sometimes this step is quick, because the Appeals Council declines to review most cases. If the Appeals Council does take up your case, that process may take months or years.
If you get an unfavorable ruling from the Appeals Council or they decline to consider your case, the next step is to file suit in federal court. That is also a long and complicated process.
A Social Security Disability Benefits Advocate Can Help
Because the SSDI appeals process takes so long–and many applicants for disability benefits can’t afford to wait–it’s very important to present the strongest possible application and to take full advantage of the opportunity to present evidence at every stage of the appeal. So, the earlier you get knowledgeable guidance, the better. Contact us or call (800) 800-2009 to learn more about how our experienced disability advocates can help.