When Are You Allowed To Ask For A Social Security Disability Hearing?

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.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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