What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
When Are You Allowed To Ask For A Social Security Disability Hearing?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
There are rules that regulate the path that an individual must take to get to a Social Security disability hearing, which means that an individual cannot just file for a disability hearing. Disability claimants must first file an initial disability claim and wait for a decision.
Generally, initial disability claim decisions average about one hundred days of processing time. Some disability claims take longer and some take less than a hundred days to receive a decision.
If an applicant's initial disability claim is denied, they have a sixty day appeal period with an additional five days for mailing (this is counted from their denial notice) to appeal their claim.
The Social Security disability appeal process begins with a request for reconsideration appeal and may end in Federal court. However, most disability claims end at the disability hearing (where the case is decided by an administrative law judge and both the claimant and his or her attorney are present), or at the Appeal Council review (the appeals council is where cases that have been denied by judges are reviewed).
How does the social security appeal process work? If an applicant’s initial disability claim is denied, they must file a reconsideration appeal. In order to file a reconsideration appeal, the disability claimant must complete disability appeal paperwork--either online or on paper--and return it to Social Security by the sixty-fifth day after the date of their denial notice.
The reconsideration appeal is sent back to the state disability agency that made the initial disability decision. Once the reconsideration appeal is at the state disability agency (known as DDS, or disability determination services), another disability examiner will review the initial disability decision along with any new medical information to make another medical disability determination.
Reconsideration appeals generally take about an average of sixty days for a disability decision. If a disability applicant receives a denial of the reconsideration appeal, they have sixty-five days to file their next appeal.
The second appeal level is a request for an administrative law judge hearing, or simply a Social Security disability hearing. This level of the disability appeal process takes the longest time to receive a decision. Currently, the national average wait time for a Social Security disability hearing decision is more than twelve months due to huge backlogs at most Social Security hearings offices across the country.
National statistics indicate that about two thirds of all individuals who attend their Social Security disability hearing are approved for disability benefits which makes the disability hearing appeal level the most winning level of the Social Security disability process.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials