One of the frustrating things about applying for disability benefits through the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs is how long the process takes from when you first submit an application until the Social Security Administration finally notifies you of a decision. Equally as frustrating is knowing that by its own admission, the Social Security Administration denies more than two-thirds of disability claims that are filed.
The lawyers and disability advocates at London Disability understand your frustration, but the only way to turn the decision around is by not giving up and exercising you right to appeal it. If you receive a denial of your claim, you have only 60 days to begin the appeal process by letting London Disability request reconsideration of the decision.
How long does a disability appeal take?
As a general rule you have 60 days to appeal a decision, which begins from the date that you receive it. However, be careful because Social Security considers the date of receipt as being five days from the date on the notice.
How long an appeal takes from when you receive the initial determination notice to a decision being made on the appeal depends on factors specific to your claim. For example, if Social Security needs updated medical records, a delay may be caused by the failure of your health care provider to respond to the request.
A London Disability lawyer or disability advocate can make a difference in the outcome of your claim and time it takes for an appeal. They work with your medical providers to get whatever documents are needed to support your disability claim submitted as quickly as possible.
Reconsideration – The first level of the appeal process
You have the right to request reconsideration of a denial of an application for SSDI or SSI benefits. Reconsideration sends your application back to an examiner who took no part in the original processing of the application.
It’s a new set of eyes looking at the application and the medical records originally submitted with it and any updated medical records that are submitted on your behalf or requested by the new examiner.
If you receive notice of an Initial determination involving medical disability cessation or a non-medical initial determination, it may include termination of disability benefits that you currently receive. You can continue to receive the benefits by requesting reconsideration within 10 days from the date that you receive notice of the initial determination. Keep in mind that the 60 days to appeal still applies, but you need to act quickly within 10 days to not have your payments stop.
Appeal to an administrative law judge
If the reconsideration does not result in a favorable determination, you have the right to request a hearing presided over by an administrative law judge. Again, you have 60 days from when you received the notice, which is calculated as starting five days after the date on the notice.
The procedures followed at the hearing level are more formal than those at the reconsideration level. Some of the differences include:
- 1). Updated medical records, if any, must be obtained and submitted by your SSD benefits lawyer. They are not automatically requested by Social Security.
- 2). Your disability lawyer is allowed a more active role in terms of the ability to engage in conversation with the administrative law judge at the hearing.
- 3). Your testimony and the testimony of other witnesses, such as a vocational expert, may be presented at a hearing.
Hearings generally take longer for a decision because of the time needed for preparation and scheduling. However, a London disability lawyer may recommend from a review of the Social Security claim file that the evidence is strong enough to ask the judge to make a decision based on it without a hearing. If you agree, this may decrease the time it takes for a decision to be made.
Appeal to an Appeals Council
An adverse decision from an administrative law judge may be appealed to an Appeals Council. Your SSDI benefits lawyer has 60 days from receipt of the decision to request a review by an Appeals Council along with any new evidence that could change the outcome of the decision made at the hearing level.
The Appeals Council has the authority to grant or deny the request. If granted, the Appeals Council reviews the file and decides whether to take action on its own or send the case back to the hearing level.
Appeal to federal court
An unfavorable decision from an Appeals Council may be appealed by filing a court action in federal court within 60 days from receipt of notice of the decision. A court action may take the most time of any of the other appeal levels.
Get advice you can trust from a disability lawyer
The disability advocates and lawyers at London Disability can help you make decisions about appealing adverse determinations that affect your SSD benefits. They answer questions, recommend available options and offer estimates about how long does a disability appeal take to allow you to make an informed decision.