If you’re disabled and can no longer work, then you may have considered filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). While you’re probably aware how complex the SSDI application process is, you might not be prepared for how frequently initial applications are denied.
After your SSDI application has been denied, your next step is to file an appeal, and if you’re like most SSDI applicants, then your primary concern is likely the potential length of the appeals process. Learn how long an SSDI appeal usually takes and why you need an attorney to help you the through the complicated, important appeals process.
When you’re applying for SSDI benefits, Social Security will determine your eligibility and then send you an initial determination letter outlining their decision. If your initial determination is a denial, you can request that Social Security reconsiders their decision. This reconsideration process generally takes three to six months and is the first step in the appeals process.
It is very likely that your reconsideration will result in a second denial, which means you will have to continue with the appeals process.
If Social Security is still denying your benefits after the reconsideration process, you will need to request an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing. During this hearing, you will explain the facts of your case with the help of a lawyer and hope that the ALJ decides in your favor. For most people applying for SSDI, the ALJ hearing is their best opportunity for receiving SSDI payments.
ALJ hearings will generally last a year before a decision is reached.
After the ALJ hearing, it’s possible you still will not have received approval for your SSDI benefits. If this is the case with your application, you must continue the appeals process by asking for an Appeals Council review. The Appeals Council will review the previous steps in the appeal process and will determine if you were treated fairly and if your denials were just. You can expect to wait up to a year before the Appeals Council review is complete.
Taking Your SSDI Appeal to Federal Court
If you have exhausted every other step in the appeals process and have still been denied your deserved SSDI benefits, then your last legal option will be to take your appeal to federal District Court. The process of taking your case to federal District Court is a very involved process, so you should make sure that you’ve hired an experienced lawyer before you take this step.
The length of your District Court appeal will depend on several different factors, including which court hears your case. Generally speaking, you will need to wait multiple months before a final decision is made.
Let an Attorney Handle Your Appeal
All told, the process of appealing your SSDI denial can take nearly three years if you must take your case all the way to federal court. To make sure your SSDI appeal is handled correctly every step of the way, you need to hire an attorney from The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour.
When you work with Dr. Bill LaTour or any of our other attorneys, you’ll know that your SSDI appeal is being handled by a knowledgeable, compassionate professional. We’ve been helping disabled individuals in the Greater Los Angeles area, the Inland Empire, and Orange County get the disability benefits they need for years. Call Dr. Bill LaTour and his team today at 800-803-5090 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation.