One commonly asked question I get as an attorney is “How long is the disability process?” The truth is, it actually depends on your case. When you originally apply for social security disability benefits, it can take up 120 days for the initial decision. They will usually send you to a doctor or psychologist for an evaluation, before that decision.
Most people are denied at this initial part of the process, but a minority of applicants actually do pass through. That’s nothing to be worried about. It’s all part of the disability benefits process.
If your application is denied, I’ll file your first appeal which is called, “Request for Reconsideration.” Again, it’s another 120 days before they reach their follow up decision. This is an important step in the disability process. If I receive new evidence or information, I will submit it during this time. Unfortunately, most people are also denied at this level. However, a certain percentage of our clients are successful at this stage in the process.
Once you’ve received notification that your request was denied for the second time, I’ll submit a third appeal entitled “Request for Hearing.” Unfortunately, in the Louisville area, it can take a year or more from the date we submit that Request for Hearing to our actual hearing date.
The objective at this stage, is to get a hearing in front of a judge. We want the judge to actually be able to see you and listen to you, as well as your attorney. This is when we can have the most impact on the decision. This is your day in court.
It’s important that we use this time to our utmost advantage. It’s always a good idea to stay close to your doctors and follow their medical treatment plan. Please advise me of any changes your medical condition. I know that this delay can seem unnecessary and probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The length of time can vary based on the number of judges we have and the number of claimants who are ahead of us in the process. It does fluctuate, but I think it’s important to set proper expectations.
Before we go to the hearing, you and I will meet at our office. We’ll review the facts of the case. I’ll provide insights about the more beneficial parts of the case, as well as where we may be a little weak. Also, I’ll explain the intricacies of the hearing process itself. I want you to feel comfortable in this unfamiliar environment.
Typically, we’ll receive the judge’s decision in a couple of months.
The truth is, the disability process can be long and drawn out. It’s unfortunate, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. A good attorney will make sure that the case (and the evidence) is prepared as thoroughly and as effectively as possible. You’ll have your day in court, so we want to do our best to make it count!