If I Request A Hearing For SSDI or SSI Disability, How Long Will I have to Wait?

The hardest part of the Social Security Disability SSI process, other than being denied, is the wait for a decision at each level of the disability process. When you file an initial disability claim, you have to wait several weeks to receive your decision. The average time for a decision on an initial disability claim is about one hundred days.

If your initial disability claim is denied, you must file a reconsideration appeal. The average wait time for a reconsideration appeal decision is about sixty days. If you are not approved at the reconsideration level, you have the longest wait ahead of you.

The wait for an administrative law judge hearing appeal is a long one. There is no simple answer to how long your wait will be for a hearing. Social Security hearing's offices across the country are receiving record numbers of disability hearings requests and these new requests must be dealt with in addition to the backlog of hearing requests most disability hearings offices have already.

Simply put, you may have to wait many months to even be scheduled for a hearing. In fact, the average wait time for a hearing is twelve months or more in most parts of the country. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to reduce the time it takes to get a disability hearing.

The only real possibility of expediting your disability hearing request appeal is for you or your representative to file a letter of dire need. If you decide to file a letter of dire need, make sure to send evidence to support your dire financial situation. For example, send late notices, foreclosure or eviction notices, or any other bills or notices that corroborate that you are in dire need.

Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. Remember, most people are in dire financial need by the time they request a hearing, so not everyone's hearing can be expedited.

Since you cannot really do much about how long your wait will be for a disability hearing, you can save time by filing appeals as quickly. If you wait sixty days each time to file an appeal, you have added roughly four months to your overall disability claim processing time.

Additionally, make sure to provide the disability examiner handling your disability claim or appeal with any information they request as quickly possible. And if you are required to attend a consultative examination try to avoid rescheduling or missing the appointment.

If time is saved processing your initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal, at least the overall time for your disability case will be reduced. After all, the entire disability process from initial disability claim to the disability hearing is about getting your disability benefits as quickly as possible.

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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