If a person’s SSD claim has been denied, they will have 60 days within which to file an appeal. If a person is denied at the initial level, then they will most likely have to go through reconsideration, which is basically the same process as the initial application. If a person is denied at the reconsideration level, then they will have another 60 days to file a request for a hearing and they will not have to wait to file an appeal.

I Was Denied SSD Benefits And Have Requested A Hearing. How Long Before I Get A Court Date?

The length of time that a person will have to wait before they get a court date after having been denied SSD benefits will vary from office to office. Last year in Houston, there was one office that would take about two years from the time someone filed their initial application to the time they would hold a hearing. An office on the other side of the city had a wait time of about one year. Currently, the wait time for both offices is about 18 months. If one office is very efficient, then Social Security will assign them cases from a part of the country that has long wait times.

In The Event Of A Denial, Should I Reapply Or Request A Hearing? Why?

In the event of a denial, I would almost always advise someone to appeal and request reconsideration, because about 65 percent of cases are denied at the initial level. This means that if someone were to reapply, they would be faced with the same odds. In most cases, the best chance of winning a disability case is at the hearing level in front of a judge. While waiting for a hearing, the claimant should get the best treatment for their condition and gather pertinent medical records. For certain types of claims, the date that the initial application is filed will determine how early Social Security could pay benefits. For example, if a person files an initial application in July, gets denied, and then files another initial application in December, then they may have lost six months of benefits by reapplying versus appealing. However, there are a lot of factors that could play into that. As a rule, a claimant should have as early of an initial application date as possible.

What Is The Potential Timeline Of Getting A Final Decision On A Social Security Claim?

The timeline for getting a final decision on a Social Security claim varies across the country. Generally speaking, it takes about two years from the time that an initial application is filed to the time that a hearing decision is made. Some cases are heard sooner than that, and some are delayed even further.

Is A Disability Claim More Likely To Get Approved At The Hearing Level By A Judge Than By A Disability Examiner?

Generally speaking, a disability claim is more likely to get approved at the hearing level by a judge than by a disability examiner. This is because the disability examiners at the state agencies seem to be focused on certain rules and conditions that lead to disability, whereas a judge has more flexibility. A judge is also going to have a much higher percentage of the medical records, which often makes a positive difference in a case. In addition, a judge is more likely to correctly apply the rules about how to treat certain kinds of jobs, and have access to medical and job experts in order to help them achieve the right outcome.

Is It True That Older Applicants Fare Better At The Hearing Level Because They Are Less Likely To Get Appropriately Employed?

As a general rule, it is true that older applicants fare better at the hearing level because they are less likely to get appropriately employed. Social Security has set up what they call a “grid,” and there is a small subset of illiterate or non-English speaking people who are under the age of 50. People who are under the age of 50 must show that there are virtually no jobs that they could perform in the entire country. If someone who is between 50 and 55 years of age is limited to a job where they are seated, don’t have to lift much, and cannot perform any skills that they may have acquired in their past work, then they could be deemed disabled. The rules change again for people who are between the ages of 55 and 60, and again for people who are over the age of 60. The grid rules are a way to standardize decisions across the country so that people with the same facts on the West Coast are treated largely the same as people with the same facts in the Midwest or the East coast.

For more information on Initial Denial On A SSD Claim, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (214) 373-3761 today.

by Carl M. Weisbrod
Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law

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