If you’re a nonexempt employee in California, you most likely pay into Social Security every time taxes are deducted from your paycheck. However, many disabled employees are denied when they apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for the first time. This often leaves them panicking, as they are unable to provide for themselves financially. Luckily, California residents are given the chance to appeal Social Security determinations by requesting a hearing.
The process of appealing a Social Security decision can be time-consuming and complex, but it often pays off. This leaves many disabled employees wondering if there’s any way to expedite their claim. Learning more about the SSDI appellate process can help you have a better chance of successfully obtaining the benefits you need.
The SSDI Application and Appeal Process
If you become disabled from a work injury, you have the right to apply for SSDI benefits in California. To do so, you can either file an application online with the Social Security Administration (SSA) or go to your local SSA office in person. Once you’ve submitted an application with the proper information, you should receive a determination within the next few months. If you are approved, you will then be put on an SSDI waiting list for about five months until your benefits begin. If you are denied, or your benefits were taken away, you should begin appealing your claim as soon as possible.
To appeal an SSDI determination, you and your lawyer need to request a hearing with your local SSA office. All eligible individuals looking to appeal a Social Security determination must submit their hearing request within 60 days of the decision being made. Otherwise, the appeal will not be viewed as valid. After you have submitted a request for your appeal, you may find yourself waiting for months to hear back from a representative.
Can You Expedite a Social Security Disability Hearing in California?
Because countless employees are requesting hearings 24/7, the SSA only expedites appellate hearings in unique circumstances. The following may help you improve your chances of expediting your hearing in California:
- Hire an Experienced Social Security Lawyer
No one has more experience fighting for disability benefits than a skilled Social Security attorney. While you may be able to request a hearing on your own, having legal support can help you achieve a hearing more quickly through their knowledge of SSA procedures. A trained SSDI lawyer can continue to press the SSA to schedule your hearing. They can then defend your needs in court once it is scheduled.
- Waive Your 75-Day Notice
If you’re looking for any method to help your hearing occur faster, it may be smart to waive your right to a 75-day notice. In California, the SSA is required to give individuals a notice of at least 75 days before their hearing occurs. However, if they waive that right, the SSA can schedule their meeting and notify them in a shorter period of time.
- Your Case Is Considered “Dire Need” or Flagged
The SSA flags some hearing requests when they are considered more critical. Your claim may be flagged for a variety of reasons, including:
- You are in dire need of financial assistance, i.e., you can’t afford your bills or basic necessities.
- You are a veteran or a wounded member of the Armed Forces.
- You are suffering from a terminal illness.
- Your case is considered a “Compassionate Allowance,” which means that it’s clear you have a disability that qualifies for benefits.
Q: How Do You Know If Your Social Security Hearing Is Scheduled?
A: Waiting for an answer to an appeal request can be daunting. However, the SSA will give you proper notice as soon as your hearing has been scheduled. The law requires the SSA to notify an individual at least 75 days before their hearing takes place. If you waive your right to the 75-day notice, your hearing will most likely occur soon after you receive your notification.
Q: How Long Does It Take for the SSA to Make a Decision After a Hearing?
A: Most appeals are referred to as “reconsiderations” because individuals are asking the SSA to reevaluate their claims. After you have your hearing with the SSA and present them with substantial evidence as to why you qualify for SSDI, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to six or more months to receive a decision.
Q: What Takes Place at an SSA Appeal Hearing?
A: During your appellate hearing, you are given the opportunity to discuss why your benefits should be reconsidered. You can bring in witnesses, medical records, and any evidence that you believe demonstrates your current disability. Your Social Security lawyer can help you compile a case that backs your request and then work to have the court see the impact of your injuries.
Q: What Is a Dire Need Case?
A: When a request for a hearing is flagged as a “dire need” case, it means that the individual asking for benefits is in some sort of immediate need of assistance. Dire need requests often involve workers who were critically injured and are unable to afford medical bills, housing, food, or other necessities, like the medical care they need to heal.
Q: Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability Insurance in California?
A: For a worker with a disability to qualify for SSDI, they must meet three essential requirements. Those requirements include:
- Their disability prevents them from working or engaging in what is known as “substantial gainful activity.”
- The condition prevents them from performing their previous job or a new job.
- The disability has lasted or is projected to last longer than a year.
Your Northern California Social Security Lawyers
Suffering an injury at work that results in a disability is life-changing. At the very least, you deserve the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits that you have been paying into with your yearly income. If you were denied after applying for SSDI in Northern California, our Social Security firm is prepared to help you appeal. Contact Gade & Parekh, LLP, to talk about your case with a Social Security attorney who cares.