SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
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
If you appeal a Social Security disability denial, how long does it take to receive a decision ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If you appeal your case after receiving a denial, the time frame for a new disability claim decision will be determined by which level of appeal your case is at. The reconsideration appeal, the first appeal, involves a review of your initial disability claim denial by a disability examiner who was not a part of the original decision. All the medical evidence from your initial disability claim and any new medical evidence provided with your reconsideration appeal will be evaluated.
Decision wait times at the reconsideration and hearing levels
Because your claim will not necessarily start from scratch, most reconsideration appeal decisions will be received in sixty days or less. However, this is not always the case. Processing time can be less, or more, depending on the disability case itself. Obviously, if Social Security has to secure new medical evidence or schedule one or more consultative examinations, it could take longer for you to receive your reconsideration appeal decision.
If your reconsideration appeal is denied (current statistical information suggests that only 10-15 percent of all reconsideration appeals are an approval for disability benefits), you must file for your second appeal, a request for hearing before an administrative law judge, or ALJ, if you wish to pursue your disability claim.
While disability hearing wait times have improved over the past couple of years, there is still a substantial wait for a disability hearing after a hearing request has been submitted. Social Security disability hearing wait times are running between five and fifteen months, depending on the hearing office.
What happens at a disability hearing?
The administrative law judge hearing involves a review of your disability file along with any new information (i.e. medical or vocational) provided by you or your disability representative. The actual disability hearing can be done either in person at your area hearings office or in some areas by video conference.
Comparatively speaking, a disability hearing is somewhat informal. Generally, the disability hearing is conducted around a conference table. The only people in attendance are the judge, you, your representative or attorney, and perhaps medical and/or vocational experts. Some administrative law judges prefer to ask you questions, while others prefer that your disability attorney or representative ask you questions about your disabling condition or conditions. It does not matter who asks the questions, just make sure to be honest and very specific with regard to your functional limitations.
Although the wait time for a disability hearing is long, it is still the best chance you have of being approved for disability benefits if you have received denials at the disability application and request for reconsideration appeal levels. Administrative law judges have far more flexibility when making their disability decisions; therefore their approval rate is higher. Administrative law judges often approve over sixty percent of their disability cases.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page