Disability Determination Notice

The process to decide if someone is disabled can vary widely from applicant to applicant. In some cases, Social Security may make a decision within a month or 2. On average it takes about 6 months and in some cases, it may take a year or longer. When you get your disability determination notice, it will tell you whether your claim has been approved or denied.

If you’re waiting for a disability determination from Social Security and need immediate financial assistance, you should consider using your job's sick pay or vacation pay and applying for State Disability Insurance (SDI). If your company has a short-term or long-term disability insurance plan, you should look into that too.

Appealing SSA Decisions

Many people are denied SSDI benefits. If you are denied benefits, you have the right to appeal. The appeals process may take time, but in the end, more than half of all appealed denials are reversed.

There are several stages within the appeals process. Most denials are overturned during the first stage. The stages are:

  1. Reconsideration
  2. Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
  3. Appeal to the Social Security Council, and
  4. Trial in district court.

If your application is denied for medical reasons and you want to appeal it, you will need to complete and submit an Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report. The report will ask you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests, or doctor visits since Social Security made their decision.

If your application is denied based on nonmedical reasons, you should contact your local Social Security office to request a review. You can also call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) to request a review.

National Organization of Social Security Claimants Representatives (NOSSCR)

This is an organization that may be able to help you with an appeal. NOSSCR is an association of attorneys and paralegals who represent people who think they’ve been unfairly denied Social Security benefits. You can reach NOSSCR at 1-800-431-2804.