Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
If you appeal a Social Security disability denial, how long does it take to receive a decision?
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: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria