If you are disabled and have been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you may be wondering how long the reconsideration process takes. It’s an important question as the answer can impact your ability to pay bills and support yourself or your family. The good news is that for those approved for SSDI, the funds that are retroactively paid can be a financial lifeline. By better understanding the process, you can set expectations and plan accordingly.
SSDI Reconsideration Process
The reconsideration process is the first level of appeal for those denied SSDI. The process can take up to three months, but the average case takes about four to six weeks. During the reconsideration stage, someone who did not take part in the initial decision must review your application. This person looks at all the evidence that was submitted with your application, as well as any new evidence that you or your representative submit.
If you are denied during the reconsideration stage, you can appeal the decision by requesting a formal hearing in front of any administrative law judge. This is the next level of appeal and is often the most successful. The hearing process can take a few months, but it is important to note that most people who are approved for SSDI benefits are approved at this stage.
If you have been denied SSDI, it is important to speak with an experienced disability attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the reconsideration and appeals process, as well as help you gather the mandatory evidence to support your claim.
What Are the Reasons Why SSDI Claimants Are Denied?
There are several reasons why SSDI claimants are denied, including:
- Lack of medical evidence. To be approved for SSDI, you must have a qualifying disability that is expected to last for an extended period. Your medical records must support your claim that you are disabled and unable to work. If your medical records do not support your claim, or there are gaps in your treatment, you may be denied. The SSA takes the medical evidence aspect of the application very seriously to ensure that the government funds are reserved for those who truly need them.
- Income. If you are earning more than $1,000 per month, you are likely to be denied SSDI. The SSA has a very strict definition of “disabled,” and if they believe you can earn more than $1,000 per month, they will deny your claim.
- Work history. The SSA also looks at your work history when making a decision on your SSDI claim. If you have worked recently or for a long period of time, the SSA may believe you are capable of working and earning an income.
- Incomplete or inaccurate application. The SSA receives thousands of applications for SSDI each year. If your application is incomplete or inaccurate, it will likely be denied. A comprehensive and well-supported application is required for the SSA to even consider your claim. Missing information or inaccuracies can lead to denial until the individual can provide the missing information or correct the inaccuracies.
Tips for Filing a Successful SSDI Claim
If you are considering filing for SSDI, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being approved:
- Gather strong medical evidence. Your medical records are extremely important when filing for SSDI. Make sure you have all your records in order and that they support your claim. If you do not have all your records, make sure to get them before you apply.
- Ensure your application is complete and accurate. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many people file incomplete or inaccurate applications. Make sure you take the time needed to fill out the application correctly. If you are unsure about something, make sure to consult with an experienced disability attorney to validate that the information you entered is accurate.
- Work with an experienced disability attorney. An experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the SSDI application process and improve your chances of being approved. An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence and complete your application accurately.
- Do not give up. The SSDI process is long and complicated, but it is important to not give up if you are denied. You have the right to appeal the decision, and an experienced disability attorney can help you through the appeals process.
What Qualities Does a Good SSDI Attorney Need?
When you are looking for a disability attorney, it is important to find someone who:
- Has experience with the SSDI process. There is no reason why you should have to go through the SSDI process alone. An experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the process and improve your chances of being approved. The average individual applying for SSDI is not familiar with the process and does not know what evidence is required to be approved, but they can fill in that knowledge gap by hiring an attorney.
- Is knowledgeable about the law. The SSDI process is governed by federal law, and it is important to find an attorney who is familiar with the law. An experienced disability attorney knows the ins and outs of the law and can use that knowledge to your advantage.
- Has a proven track record. When you are looking for an attorney, make sure to find someone with a proven track record of success. Ask for referrals from friends or family members who have been through the SSDI process, or look for an attorney who has experience with your particular disability.
- Demonstrates compassion. The SSDI process is long and difficult, and it is important to find an attorney who can be by your side throughout the process. An experienced disability attorney will have compassion for your situation and be dedicated to getting you the benefits you deserve.
If you are considering applying for SSDI, or if you have been denied benefits, contact the experienced disability attorneys today at Gade & Parekh, LLP. We can help you navigate the SSDI process and improve your chances of being approved. Contact us today to begin the reconsideration process with our firm.