About two-thirds of initial Social Security disability applications are denied. Fortunately, applicants who are initially denied have the right to file an appeal with the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are several steps involved in appealing a decision, but perhaps the most important part of the process is the disability appeal hearing.
The disability appeal hearing will take place before an administrative law judge (ALJ). During this hearing, the ALJ may ask you questions about your disability and work history. Vocational and medical experts may also be called to testify at this hearing so the ALJ can learn as much as possible about your situation.
If you have requested a disability appeal hearing, it’s important to know what will happen once the hearing concludes. Here’s what you should expect:
When Will You Find Out Whether You Were Approved or Denied?
The ALJ will not make their decision regarding your case right away. Instead, the ALJ will send you a copy of the hearing decision in the mail. The time that it will take to receive this decision will vary depending on a number of factors, including the ALJ’s caseload. Some hearing offices estimate that it will take about six weeks, whereas others estimate that it takes closer to 30 days.
What Information Will You Receive?
You will receive a copy of the hearing decision, which will tell you whether you have been approved or denied for benefits. If you are denied, the hearing decision should also explain the reason for the denial.
If you are approved, the SSA will send you a Notice of Award letter. This letter will include:
- Your disability onset date
- The amount of your monthly benefits
- The date you will start receiving monthly benefits
- The amount of backpay you are entitled to
You should receive your first payment shortly after being approved for benefits.
What Should You Do If You Disagree With the ALJ’s Decision?
You may disagree with the decision to deny your benefits or the disability onset date established by the ALJ. If you disagree with any aspect of the ALJ’s decision, there are other steps you can take to continue fighting for the benefits you deserve. The next step is asking the Appeals Council to review the ALJ’s decision. The Appeals Council may deny your request for a review, but if this happens, your attorney can help you with the next step in the appeals process, which is a federal court review.
Has your application for disability benefits been denied? Don’t give up hope yet—let the experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. help. We will guide you through the process of appealing this decision and work tirelessly to secure the benefits you deserve. Call us at (918) 582-2500 or toll-free at (800) 722-8880 or complete the simple form below for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.