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What is the process to appeal a denied SSDI benefits application?

On Behalf of | Feb 17, 2021 | Social Security Disability

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a difficult and long process. For some people, it takes months or even more than a year before they start getting benefits.

Most people have heard at least one story about a qualified applicant who didn’t get approved when they initially applied. Some people have to go through appeals in order to get their benefits, a process that could take months.

If you have recently applied for SSDI and did not receive approval, what options do you have if you still need benefits?

Those denied benefits have the right to an appeal

If a denial were permanent, one person could have a horrible, negative effect on the lives of hundreds of other people. To protect people from the biases or mistakes of those who work for the Social Security Administration (SSA), there are multiple appeals that someone can pursue.

The first and most basic is a reconsideration request. In a reconsideration, an applicant asks to have a different SSA employee look over their application and decide if they qualify. Sometimes, all you need is someone with a more objective perspective to look over your application.

Many applicants will need to go to an appeal hearing

If a reconsideration doesn’t succeed or if you know that your denial stems from mistakes in your application or insufficient medical documentation, you may need to take things a step further. Asking for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) can be a way to appeal a denial and connect with benefits.

If the Fresno SSA office is the one managing your application, you will have to plan for over a year of wait time. Currently, the average wait time for a hearing in Fresno with an administrative law judge to review an SSDI application is roughly 13 months.

You still have options even after an unsuccessful hearing

Ideally, those months of waiting will give you time to prepare yourself and get the documentation you need to convince the judge that you need that. If you don’t succeed during that hearing, you still have additional options for appealing that denial. Experienced legal guidance can make it easier for those appealing for benefits, especially if they must take the process beyond their first hearing.