Suddenly developing a disabling medical condition after a lifetime of hard work can utterly change your life. You will no longer have the enjoyment of your professional development nor the income that you once enjoyed. You may require regular medical care and could struggle to pay the bills. You might even need help around the house or lose your ability to drive.
Adjusting to life with a disabling medical condition often means reworking your household budget and exploring alternate forms of income and financial support. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is arguably one of the most important protections available for working-age adults.
Every time you get a paycheck, your employer contributes to Social Security. Those funds eventually make you eligible for benefits if you become disabled or you retire. Unfortunately, even those who desperately need SSDI benefits don’t always receive them right away when they apply. What happens after a denial of your initial application?
You have the right to an appeal and possibly a hearing
There are multiple appeal stages available to those denied SSDI benefits. The first is a reconsideration of the initial application. The next is a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.
It can often take months for an applicant to get their day in court. For applicants in the Athens, Tennessee, area, the wait may be slightly lower than in many other areas of the country. The Chattanooga office maintains an average wait time of seven months. Those going through the Knoxville office might have to wait a little longer, with an average of eight months wait time.
What does a delayed approval mean for your benefits?
Waiting seven or eight months for a hearing means going the better part of a year with no income when you desperately need it. Thankfully, when you do finally receive an approval, you can actually receive backdated benefits to either the date of your application or when you first became eligible after you applied.
In other words, if you receive approval at the hearing, you can look forward to receiving months’ worth of benefits in the near future. The sooner you apply and start advocating for yourself, the sooner you can potentially connect with the benefits that will help you.