You had an accident that’s left you with permanent injuries or you’ve developed a chronic illness. Either way, you don’t expect to ever return to work.
Right now, you’re running out your time on your accumulated sick leave and vacation time, so you haven’t filed for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits quite yet. Now, you’re thinking that with the holiday season coming up, the Social Security Administration (SSA) office may be busy and maybe you should wait.
That’s a bad idea. Here’s what you need to know.
It can take several months to get an initial decision
No matter what time of the year it is, it’s not unusual for initial disability applications to take three to five months to get an initial decision. Waiting until January to get started on your application just guarantees you’ll be waiting between three and five months longer than necessary to get an answer – and that answer could be a denial. The majority of initial applications are denied.
If your initial claim is denied, you’ll have to file a request for Reconsideration. That process operates much like the initial claim and goes through the same steps, so that means you could easily be facing another multi-month wait.
If your Reconsideration is denied, you have to file for a Hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). While wait times vary a bit around the country, the current average wait for a claimant to be heard is roughly 24 months. That’s a long time when you’re trying to figure out your future.
You can often circumvent needless and lengthy appeals by getting experienced legal guidance as soon as you’re ready to file.