Most people beginning the Social Security Disability process have the initial request rejected. If you are facing the initial denial, you must not let this discourage you or stop you from seeking Social Security Disability benefits. You will receive instructions on the appeals procedure with the denial letter from the SSA (Social Security Administration). The SSA offers various ways to appeal. It does not matter which way you select to appeal. It is, however, a good idea to retain proof that you have appealed on time.
For many people experiencing their first rejection, it can be hard to know what to do next. Being rejected when you are going through such a difficult time can be stressful. The absolute first thing to do after receiving a letter of denial for Social Disability benefits is to contact an experienced, professional Social Security disability lawyer that handles cases like your own.
Steps you must consider while appealing a denial for Social Security Disability
- The next step after the SSA’s conclusion to deny the Social Security Disability claim is to file an appeal for reconsideration. Generally, this includes filing the request in a timely manner and having the claim reviewed by another officer at the SSA. You might, obviously, add any new or unique details that you believe possess a bearing on your claim.
- Incorporating an experienced, professional lawyer frequently makes a critical difference at this stage. In a few scenarios, simply having the content of your paperwork re-organized or submitting any additional medical records with respect to your disability can get you approved.
- More frequently, however, your claim will have to move to the next appeal stage, which is the disability hearing. At the time of the hearing, a judge will hear your testimony and that of any necessary witnesses of why you should obtain the Social Security Disability benefits and review the medical evidence and vocational factors concerning your case.
- It is also common for a hearing to incorporate a medical professional or specialist in the field of your injury or disability. The medical professional will answer the questions and concerns of the judge hearing your case with respect to the medical facts. A vocational professional will offer guidance to the judge with respect to what kind of work you may or may not be capable of now as well as in the future.
- If a denial of your claim occurs at the hearing, the Order denying the claim can then be appealed to an Appeals Council. The Appeals Council incorporates administrative law judges who were not part of the original decision. They will not focus on new evidence or witnesses; however, they will ensure that the administrative law judge from your case acted pursuant to applicable statutes and regulations, and they will make a decision either affirming or overturning the hearing judge’s decision.
If you are not awarded Social Security Disability benefits after the Appeals Council stage or it has not been remanded back to a judge for another hearing, the next step is to appeal your claim further to Federal District Court. You should, of course, seek the advice of a Social Security lawyer before undertaking any such course of action concerning your case.
How long does a Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
The length of appeal of the decision made on a Social Security Disability request is most impacted by the request level of a disability claim. At the initial application stage, the decision will usually take a few months.
Usually, the reconsideration request determination will not take as long as the initial claim determination. The disability application or initial claim usually takes 90 to 120 days for the Social Security Administration to render a decision. The reconsideration appeal frequently takes less time. It is not unusual for a reconsideration determination to be made within a 30-60 day period.
In a few scenarios, the turnaround time might be as little as a couple of weeks. As one might assume, some initial disability denial determinations are reversed at the reconsideration appeal level. However, nationally, only about 11% to 15% of the reconsideration appeals are reversed in favor of the claimant.
The wait for a Social Security Disability decision and hearing
If these steps have been followed and the reconsideration appeal is declined, the next appellate step will be to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. The individual filing this step of the disability claim can expect to have a long waiting period before getting a hearing in front of administrative law judge. Wait times for the disability hearing can be as much as two years in some areas of the country.
Why is this the Case?
Social Security Disability hearing offices across the nation possesses a tremendous backlog of hearing appeals. This generally makes the overall wait time for a disability claim to extend to 2 years or more, including the period it takes for determination on the initial application and reconsideration determination.
Hopefully, with the help of this guide you will have better idea about how to proceed with Social Security Disability appeals and how much time it can take to get to hearing, if necessary. Call our dedicated Greenwood, SC social security disability attorneys today for help with your claim!