Social Security has multiple levels of appeals. The initial claim takes 3-4 months. If you are denied, you can file an appeal to ask for reconsideration of your claim. The reconsideration takes another 3-4 months. If your request for reconsideration is denied, you can request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. At the end of 2020, the wait for a hearing is approximately 8 months. The Social Security Administration’s backlogs create lengthy delays in the proceedings, which are very frustrating, and may make you want to forget the whole thing. We assure you, it is frustrating to us as well. To avoid problems and pitfalls, please be aware of, and make every effort to follow the procedures we recommend. We will do our best to secure payment of your benefits, but the Wheels of Justice often turn so slowly that they barely move.
Please call for your appointment today, and we will help you through this process.
The Initial Claim – File for Disability Benefits
The initial application for disability benefits will take from 3-4 months to process. You can help shorten the process by having certain information and documents with you when you apply.
- Your Social Security number and proof of your age;
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and clinics that saw you for 1 year before you stopped work;
- Names and dosages of all the medications you are taking;
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers, that you already have in your possession;
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did; and
Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits; and
- Proof of marriage, if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages if applicable.
The First Appeal – Request for Reconsideration
The reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first decision. The reconsideration will take another 3-4 months. Social Security will look at all the evidence submitted when the original decision was made, plus any new evidence. You need to carefully check you initial claim decision for medical sources Social Security overlooked on the initial claim. These and any new doctor visits or hospitalizations should be pointed out on the reconsideration forms.
The Second Appeal – The Request For Hearing
The hearing will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge who had no part in the original decision or the reconsideration of your case. The hearing is usually held within 75 miles of your home. The Administrative Law Judge will notify you of the time and place of the hearing. In the Jacksonville area, it is taking approximately 8 months from requesting a hearing to seeing the judge. Before the hearing, you can submit more evidence and clarify information about your claim. At the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge will question you about you limitations and work history. Witnesses, such as medical or vocational experts, also may give us information at the hearing.