How Long Will My Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
When you visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) website, you’ll find an estimate that it will take three to six months to receive a determination on your Social Security disability (SSDI) application. That’s true, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Most SSDI claims are denied at the initial application stage. So, the amount of time that passes before the initial determination may be much shorter than the amount of time that passes before you actually receive Social Security disability benefits.
Appealing a Social Security Disability Denial
In most states, the first step after receiving a Social Security disability (SSDI ) denial is to file a request for reconsideration. This is typically the quickest step in the process. Still, you have up to 60 days to submit the request, and it can take another one to three months to receive a decision. Add the time to submit your request and the time waiting for a decision to the time you waited for an initial decision and you could be nine months or even a year out from your initial application when you receive a ruling on your request for reconsideration.
Unfortunately, the success rate at the reconsideration stage is quite low. So, most applicants will have to move on to requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Getting to the ALJ Hearing
The ALJ hearing is the stage where the highest percentage of claims are approved. But, it takes time to get there. Exactly how long it takes to get a hearing before an administrative law judge varies by location.
According to SSA data from October of 2022, the shortest average wait times in the country were about eight months. More than 60% of locations have an average wait time of at least one year, and about a dozen locations around the country have average wait times of 18-24 months.
In other words, depending on where you are and other factors, your ALJ hearing may take place between about 18 months and three years of your initial application. After the hearing, you may get a decision in as little as a few weeks. Or, it may take a few months.
Is There a Way to Speed Up the SSDI Appeals Process?
There’s no way to shortcut the process, but you can keep your application moving as efficiently as possible by ensuring that you:
- Provide a complete and accurate application and all necessary documentation
- Make sure you submit your request for reconsideration and appeal promptly
- Provide all necessary information, including updating medical information, at each stage
An experienced disability benefits advocate can help ensure that you’re giving yourself the best opportunity for an efficient approval. To learn more, contact us here or call (800) 800-3332 right now.