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How long does it take to appeal a denied SSDI application?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | SSDI Denials & Appeals

Applicants seeking disability benefits are often in a difficult financial situation. Most people realize that they don’t qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI benefits unless they have a persistent and fully disabling medical condition. They may try to work initially after their diagnosis or may hold out hope that treatment could improve their condition initially. By the time people apply for benefits, they might have gone months without regular income. They may have already used up the money that they have in savings or put a lot of debt on their credit cards.

Those who don’t receive a prompt approval for benefits may soon start to worry about their financial circumstances. People applying for SSDI benefits have the right to appeal a negative determination.

The appeals process may require patience

There are different forms of appeal available to those seeking SSDI benefits. Some applicants only need to wait for a reconsideration. This internal process involves a different worker at the Social Security Administration (SSA) looking over their paperwork. Reconsiderations may only require a few weeks and can lead to someone getting benefits after an initial denial.

If the reconsideration process is not successful, then the next step involves requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. Hearings give people an opportunity to gather evidence and possibly even arrange for testimony from professionals. The office handling the SSDI application influences how long it takes to secure an appeal hearing. As of March 2024, the Greensboro SSA office averaged a nine-month wait for a hearing.

It is also possible to take the matter to the Appeals Council if a judge does not rule in someone’s favor. Appeals in federal court can also be an option. Hearings in front of the Appeals Council or in federal court could very well take more than a year of waiting.

People often need to find alternate means of managing their finances during the appeals process. Thankfully, if their appeal is successful, they could potentially receive months of benefits at once. Having realistic expectations for SSDI benefits appeals can help people pursue the support they need. Those who understand the rules for SSDI appeals can prepare themselves for what can be a lengthy process.