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How long does the SSDI benefits appeals process usually last?

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2024 | Uncategorized |

There are many types of benefits that people don’t tend to learn about until they need them. For example, although the average professional makes contributions to Social Security with every paycheck, they probably know very little about how different Social Security benefits work. Most people only ever apply for assistance from Social Security after they reach retirement age.

However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not just oversee retirement benefits for professionals who have long maintained gainful employment. There are also two different disability programs the SSA administers. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can benefit anyone with a disabling condition, including children who have never had jobs.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are only available to those with a substantial work history. Even those who meet the standards for SSDI eligibility may receive rejection notices when they apply for disability benefits. Workers denied benefits usually have the right to an appeal.

Appeals can take months or more than a year

How long it takes to appeal a determination about SSDI benefits largely depends on the type of appeal someone has to pursue. The first stage in the SSDI appeals process is a reconsideration. An employee at the SSA who did not review the initial application goes over the initial application, any corrections the applicant makes and any supplemental medical records that might help prove that an applicant meets the necessary standard for SSDI benefits.

Reconsideration may take only a few weeks in some cases and does occasionally lead to the approval of the claim previously denied by the SSA. If the applicant must present their case to an administrative law judge, then the appeals process is likely to take substantially longer. People have to wait until there is a hearing available, which can take months depending on the jurisdiction.

Currently, the Harrisburg SSA office reports an average wait time of 10 months. The benefits of a hearing in front of an administrative law judge include the ability to present evidence and possibly even the ability to have medical experts testify.

In rare scenarios where a hearing is not successful but an applicant wants to continue the appeals process, it may take substantially longer to secure a chance to present the case to the Appeals Council or to qualify for an appeal in Federal District Court.

Those applying for SSDI benefits often need to have a plan in place in case they do not receive timely approval and must navigate an appeal. Understanding the timeline for SSDI appeals and understanding the importance of responding to an unfavorable determination may benefit those in need of SSDI benefits but who are not yet eligible according to the SSA. Applicants who know what to expect during appeals may find it easier to obtain the benefits that they require.