People living in Torrance, California and nearby communities typically work until they have enough in savings to comfortably retire. In fact, many people continue working long after they are financially ready to retire because they enjoy their jobs or want to remain as active as possible. However, some people must stop working years before they reach retirement age due to disabling medical issues.
If someone cannot work because of an injury or illness, they may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Those benefits can help people cover their household expenses until they qualify for retirement benefits or recover enough to return to work. Many potentially qualified applicants get rejected by the Social Security Administration (SSA) after applying.
They may then appeal. The process begins with a reconsideration. If that isn’t successful, the applicant can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. How long might someone need to wait for their hearing?
The wait time depends on the location
Every SSA office has a different number of employees and a different volume of applications coming through at any given time. Applicants have little way of knowing what to expect when they receive a rejection notice and decide to appeal. The SSA strives for transparency and therefore provides information about the average wait time at different SSA offices.
Currently, the SSA office in Long Beach reports a 23-month wait time for SSDI appeals hearings. The Los Angeles West office averages an 18-month wait, while the downtown Los Angeles office has an average wait time of 19 months. The office handling someone’s application ultimately determines how long they wait for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
The applicant can use those months to gather more medical evidence and prepare for their time in court. People who are aware of the lengthy wait required can also make alternative arrangements to cover their financial needs until they finally have their hearing. If a judge approves the appeal and grants someone benefits, they could receive backdated benefits in a lump sum that could help them catch up on their past-due financial obligations.
It can be very stressful to wait for a review of a benefits application when someone is unable to work. Seeking legal guidance and learning more about the process for SSDI appeals can help people better manage their finances and expectations as they move forward in pursuit of benefits.