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How Long Will it Take For Social Security To Respond to Your Appeal?

After the grueling paperwork, the wait time, and then receiving a denial from the Social Security Administration office, then you have the arduous task of having to file an appeal. Many people are anxious to know how long it takes once you file your appeal for social security to respond? On average the Social Security Administration says it takes 3 to 4 months after the Reconsideration request has been filed. It’s a good idea to check to see if your state has eliminated this step as some have. If you live in one of these states that doesn’t require Reconsideration then you can shave off 3 to 4 months and file a request directly for an appeal hearing.

If you do have to file for Reconsideration then that is the first step in the appeals process which takes approximately 90-120 days.

Initial Determinations and Filing Your Appeal

There are 4 steps in the entire appeals process:

  • Reconsideration
  • Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
  • Appeals Council Review
  • A U.S. Federal Court Hearing.

The majority of Reconsideration appeals are denied (only 11% approved) and then go up to the ALJ hearing. However, about 67% of appeals in front of an ALJ are successful. Unfortunately, here’s where the wait comes in. Social Security offices across the nation are heavily backlogged with scheduled hearings. It can take around 18 -24 months in some states to appear before an ALJ, depending on your location. And once you have your hearing decisions from an ALJ can take between 45-120 days to be delivered.

Steps in the Appeals Process Explained

  • Reconsideration: during the reconsideration stage, applicants or current recipients will be given a period of 60 days to appeal their determination, and request a review of their file in addition to any new documentation or medical reporting. Most reconsideration decisions are delivered within 8 weeks.
  • Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing: mirroring reconsideration appeals, applicants or current beneficiaries will be granted 60 days to request a hearing. During this hearing, new evidence may be presented for your claim, and benefit payments may continue as long as they are requested in writing within 10 days of termination or adjustment of your benefits.

During your hearing, the ALJ may request witness testimony from medical experts and treatment providers regarding your condition. Expect a considerably longer wait time before you appear in front of a judge. The typical wait time is between 6 months to a year, but according to the SSA, the actual wait time for a hearing in almost all states varies between 18-24 months.

  • Appeals Council: if you have still been denied benefits in your hearing, you may request a review by an Appeals Council within 60 days in order to overturn the determination. Overviewing new evidence and documentation, the council will decide to either grant or dismiss your review request. If approved for review, the Appeals Council will either overturn the ALJ decision and approve your claim or send it back to the ALJ for a supplemental hearing.

The Appeals Council is also a lengthy step, and it often takes about 345 days on average to review an appeal.

  • Federal Court: if you still get denied you can take your case to Federal Court. This must be filed within 60 days of the Appeals Council determination. You also have the right of taking added measure by filing a civil action with a U.S. District Court. The US Federal Court Decision can take a long time – up to a year for an answer.

Before submitting an appeal for disability, consider contacting a trained disability consultant in your state first. Hiring a disability expert to oversee your appeal can strengthen your claim, and give you a better chance of winning your appeal.

Call the experts at the Disability Champions for your free evaluation today.