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SSDI- How long will an appeal take with a lawyer?

Can lawyer expedite my disability case?

If you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and you have been denied, like 70% of most disability applicants, you may be wondering if you can hire a disability lawyer, and if so, how long will the appeal’s process take.

Many SSDI applicants assume that having a disability lawyer will allow them to bypass the thousands of other disability applicants and somehow catapult their disability application to the front of the disability processing line. Unfortunately, that is beyond what the disability attorney will be able to do with your SSDI case.

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What can the Disability lawyer do?

Although a disability lawyer will not be able to expedite your disability application they will give you a better chance of winning at every appeal step, thereby potentially saving your time. For instance, if you are scheduled for a SSDI disability hearing the disability lawyer can do the following, which can give you a better chance of winning at the hearing:

  1. Review your medical records and get more information if they feel that your current medical documentation is not sufficient to prove you cannot perform substantial gainful activity.

  2. Send additional information to the administrative law judge prior to the hearing.

  3. Prepare arguments that for the disability hearing.

  4. Challenge the job expert at the hearing if they argue you can perform different types of work.

  5. Prepare a brief for the administrative law judge outlining the case.

Appealed SSDI, when will I hear from SSA?

Unfortunately, given the large number of disability applicants whether or not you hire a lawyer you are in for a long wait. Many SSDI applicants wonder if their lawyer is really doing anything for their case, but most likely they are waiting (just like you) and for large stretches of time there is not much they can do.

If you have submitted your appeal for reconsideration (the first step in the appeals process in most states) the SSA states it could take 30 to 90 days to hear back from them. Unfortunately, this is just an estimate and it could be more or less in certain states. Additionally, up to 80% or disability applicants are denied at this step so most likely you will eventually have to request a hearing.

If you file a request for a hearing you can expect to wait up to one year in some parts of the country for your hearing to be scheduled.  In some cases a disability lawyer can request what is called an “on the record review” to expedite your case. The On the Record Review allows them to request the judge look at your case without a hearing. There are advantages and disadvantages, and a lawyer will not do this unless they think you have a great case. Talk to them about this option if you think it could benefit your case.

Bottom Line

Before your appeal your SSDI application review the process and make sure you have realistic expectations about what a disability lawyer can and cannot do to speed up your SSDI case.

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