Most Americans don’t have enough in savings to fully cover their monthly cost-of-living expenses if they find themselves unable to work because of a health issue. The people who need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits often have dire medical situations that will last for more than a year or possibly the rest of their lives.
They have life-altering injuries or medical conditions and no way to support themselves financially. Their prior contributions to Social Security make them eligible for SSDI in theory, and the impact of their medical condition also makes them believe they qualify for benefits.
However, when they submit a claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA), they don’t receive an immediate approval. This is a common scenario that affects thousands of applicants every year. They have to appeal before they get benefits. How long will the process of appealing take after you receive a notice of claim denial?
Appeals can be fast, but often take more than a year
In some cases, minor mistakes with your paperwork or inadequate medical records are the reason why the SSA rejects your claim. You can quickly and easily appeal an unfavorable decision in some cases through a reconsideration. Another SSA employee can review your application and might approve you for benefits not long after you initiate the appeals process.
Sadly, many applicants don’t succeed in appealing until they have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). It usually takes months to get a hearing. Currently, the SSA office out of Greensboro reports an average wait time of 16 months for applicants who require a hearing in front of an ALJ.
Is appealing better than reapplying?
Some applicants, anxious about the length of time it may take to have their case heard by an ALJ, may question whether reapplying might be the better approach. However, appealing is usually a worthwhile choice because it can lead to backdated benefits. Provided that your appeal is successful, you could get benefits going back to when you initially qualified after applying. The extra wait pays off when you receive more compensation upon approval.
Knowing what to expect during an SSDI benefits appeal can help those who need to take additional steps to get benefits.