How long will it take to be approved for disability if I have lupus?

This is a fairly common question that gets routinely asked by claimants filing a claim for disability with lupus, and who are wondering about the Lupus disability requirements.

It would be impossible to say how long a person will have to wait to be approved for disability. Why? Simply because every claim is as unique as the individual who is filing for disability.

Social Security Disability is a total disability claim and as such it is often difficult to be approved with an initial disability claim, especially if you are a younger individual. For example, if you are not able to meet the criteria of the lupus impairment listing the only way you can be approved is a medical vocational allowance. Unfortunately, the medical vocational rules used for these allowances are geared toward older individuals.

Consequently, most individuals who apply for disability on the basis of lupus or any other condition for that matter are initially denied. Currently, disability statistics indicate that fewer than 30 percent of the initial claims are approved. Generally it takes at an average of ninety days or more for the initial disability decision. If your disability claim is denied you will have to use the Social Security Disability appeal process.

Related: How does Social Security consider lupus as a disability?

The next level in most states is the reconsideration appeal. This appeal produces very few disability approvals; in fact, fewer than 15 percent of the reconsideration appeals will result in a reversal of the original application denial. Having to go through the reconsideration appeal will usually add an average of 60 days to the wait for disability benefits.

If you are reconsideration appeal is denied, you can appeal that denial decision by filing a request for an administrative law judge hearing. While this will be your best chance to be approved for disability, it also has the longest wait.

Average wait times across the country are eighteen months or longer. An average of 40% will be approved for disability benefits at their hearing.

If you are denied by the ALJ, or administrative law judge, you can appeal their decision by filing an Appeals Council Review appeal. Or, you can file a new disability claim to begin the process again. Your representative should be able to advice you as to the best path for you to take, as you cannot file for both.

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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