If you have a disability, your social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits might be a necessary source of income. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might deny your application.
You can always appeal, though. There are four stages to the appeals process, each with its own timeline.
Having your claim reconsidered
File for reconsideration online to have a new person look at your claim. At this stage, you should provide more evidence to help your case. If the SSA accepts your reconsideration, then you are all set. According to the SSA, the average processing time for a reconsideration claim in 2021 was 147 days.
Requesting a hearing
If the SSA denied your reconsideration, you can request a hearing with an administrative law judge. You have 60 days to request this hearing, where you can provide testimony and bring in additional witnesses. You could be waiting anywhere between five and 15 months for a hearing.
Filing for a review
If the judge denies your claim, you can file for a review with the SSA’s Appeals Council, where a panel can overturn, change, or uphold the judge’s decision. It takes the Appeals Council an average of one year to decide. In some cases, they may order the judge to conduct a second hearing, which can extend your timeline even further.
Taking your claim to court
If the Appeals Council upholds the judge’s decision, you have the option to sue the SSA. By this stage, it could have already been years, and taking your case to trial will add several months to that timeline.
The appeals process can be incredibly time-consuming. Making sure your initial application is complete can get you paid sooner.