If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, there is an appeals process to overturn the Social Security Administration’s denial. The first step of the appeal process is a Request for Reconsideration. If your reconsideration is denied, the next step is a Request for a Hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
If your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you must file a Request for a Hearing within 60 days of receiving the letter denying your reconsideration.
When you request a hearing, the decision as to whether or not you receive disability benefits is in the hands of an administrative law judge. The ALJ who hears your Social Security Disability case will make a decision based on the evidence you present at your hearing as well as any testimonies that may be heard at the hearing.
It is important to have proper legal representation during the Social Security Disability hearing process. Most people have never had to represent themselves in front of a judge, let alone for a disability claim. A Social Security Disability attorney can make sure that your hearing is held properly, that the right questions are asked, and that you are prepared to present your case.
In Oregon, the average time frame to have your hearing (from the date you request your hearing) is approximately 17.3 months.
In Washington, the average time frame to have your hearing (from the date you request your hearing) is approximately 16.8 months.
Fortunately, your chances of being awarded Social Security Disability benefits are much greater at this stage than at the initial application and reconsideration stages of the application process. This also emphasizes the importance of having good representation and preparation for your disability hearing.