By the time you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may have already been out of work for several weeks. You may have big medical bills and no clear idea about when or if you will ever be able to return to gainful employment.
Provided that the condition is serious enough to keep you from working and that your symptoms will last for at least a year, SSDI benefits can help cover your basic cost-of-living expenses until you recover or are able to retire.
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for declining applications even from those with severe medical conditions. You may have to appeal to get your benefits. The first stage of the appeals process is a reconsideration. If a reconsideration doesn’t work, then the next step will be a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. How long will you likely have to wait for your chance to give evidence in front of a judge?
Applicants will wait around a year for a hearing
The SSA tracks how long applicants have to wait for their appeal hearings. That way, applicants can at least budget and plan for the wait. The wait time for those applying through the Long Beach office currently averages 10 months, while those applying through either Los Angeles office can expect at least a 13-month wait. While that may be a long time to wait to get your benefits, it is better to appeal than to reapply.
The problem with reapplying
If you give up on your appeal and submit a completely new application, you will likely receive fewer benefits than you would if you successfully appeal. The SSA backdates benefits going all the way back to the date when either you first applied or you technically first qualified for benefits.
If you apply again, you will not receive any backdated benefits, so the issue there is obvious. As difficult and frustrating as waiting in a state of limbo to find out if your appeal is successful can be, you can use that time to bolster your case by gathering more evidence.
Learning more about the process of appealing when you apply for SSDI benefits will take the mystery and fear out of that experience.