The Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for taking a very long time to process applications and for declining people with valid benefit claims. Many people who need Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits will find the application process rather intimidating.
Even after they fill out the paperwork and submit pages of medical documentation, they may still receive notice from the SSA that they didn’t qualify for benefits. Rejected applicants have the right to appeal. The appeals process can take months or sometimes more than a year if it goes on to the more advanced stages of appeal.
That entire time, the applicant has likely been out of work and struggling with serious medical issues. The longer it takes to get benefits, the more financial hardship they may have to endure. Thankfully, appeals can be worthwhile because they may eventually lead to back pay.
Benefits don’t necessarily start when the SSA approves your claim
The date that you receive a positive ruling in your appeal is not the date that you first qualify for SSDI benefits. Typically, at the time of your approval, you can expect to receive benefits going back to when you first qualified for SSDI, at least based on when you applied.
That back pay can play a crucial role in catching up on your bills and settling some of your accounts. Back pay is also why it is worthwhile to appeal rather than to apply again. When you submit a new application, the date of that application becomes the date when you might theoretically qualify for benefits. The appeals process keeps your former application date on record and effective for back payments.
It is easy to become discouraged after the SSA rejects your application or when you realize how long you might have to spend pursuing an appeal. When you partner with an attorney, you will have support for the complex appeals process and also someone to help you keep your focus on your long-term goals, which include getting the benefits that you need until you can qualify for retirement benefits.
Understanding the rules that determine how much you receive when you get approved for SSDI benefits can motivate you to appeal instead of giving up or reapplying.