People generally don’t even think of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits until they have exhausted all of their other options. You may have been out of work for weeks by the time you submit an application for benefits to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Whether you are about to commence cancer treatment or you suffered a catastrophic injury in a car crash, you may recognize that your life will never be the same. You may already have several months’ worth of unpaid expenses owed when you apply, which may make you feel quite nervous after receiving a rejection notice. After all, without any income or benefits, you won’t be able to pay your basic cost-of-living expenses.
Appealing to get benefits might take months. How long will you have to wait before you finally receive SSDI benefits?
The degree of appeal determines how long it takes
Some people quickly realize that they did not send in enough medical documentation when they receive a rejection letter. They submit additional information and then receive a relatively quick approval after a reconsideration.
Others will need to attend an actual appeal hearing to get benefits. According to data reported by the SSA, the average wait time for a hearing with an administrative law judge during an SSDI appeal through the Tucson office is 13 months. Those who must complete additional appeal stages could have many more months of wait time after waiting more than a year to see an administrative law judge.
Those who require a review by the Appeals Council may have to wait anywhere from several more months to a couple of years. If their decision isn’t in your favor, there could many more months of waiting until you have a hearing for a federal court review.
Why appealing is a worthwhile process
Even though it may take longer than a year to resolve your appeal and secure benefits, doing so is often the smartest choice for qualified applicants initially rejected by the SSA. After an approval during an appeal, claimants can potentially receive backdated benefits in a lump-sum payment.
Understanding the steps involved in a successful SSDI appeal can help those who need benefits take the right steps to get them.