There are countless reasons why working professionals in the Mobile, Alabama area may find themselves unable to continue supporting themselves via gainful employment. They may have, for example, developed a terminal illness or suffered a major injury in a car crash.
Those with truly debilitating medical conditions that will last a year or longer and that prevent them from working may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. To receive such benefits, workers need to have remained employed for long enough to accrue sufficient credits based on their age. They also need to have medical documentation validating the claim that their condition prevents them from working.
Many qualified applicants get rejected initially and have to appeal to get benefits. Waiting on an appeal can feel very frightening for someone who is already struggling financially. How long can Mobile-area applicants expect the SSDI appeals process to take?
Reconsideration can be very quick
The most basic form of appeal is internal. Employees at the Social Security Administration (SSA) will perform a reconsideration as the first step of the appeals process. If additional medical records and corrected paperwork are sufficient, applicants can potentially have a favorable reconsideration completed in a matter of weeks. However, only a small percentage of reconsiderations are successful, and many applicants will need to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
How long does it take to get a hearing?
Securing the hearing will generally require more patience than the reconsideration process. As of the report provided by the SSA in May of 2023, the Mobile SSA office reports an average wait time of 14 months when applicants need to have an administrative law judge hear an appeal. Still, those who do wait and are successful at their hearings will receive not just an approval for future benefits but also a lump-sum payment for backdated benefits. They could receive more than a year of payments at once, which would likely help them catch up on bills they have been unable to pay since their diagnosis.
Although it can be frustrating and even frightening to have to wait for financial support while already coping with a disabling medical condition, the appeals process is successful for a small but noteworthy percentage of applicants. Understanding what to expect when applying for SSDI benefits or appealing an unfavorable decision will help those worried about how they will manage their finances following their injury or diagnosis to make more informed decisions about their circumstances.