We all seem to know at least one person who moved easily through the disability process, getting an approval from Social Security within a matter of months. But somehow your case has dragged on nearly two years (or longer!) and now you have a hearing set with a judge. At this point many people are very frustrated with the disability process and want to know why they were not approved sooner. Some people are approved faster than others for a variety of reasons.
Factors That Lead To A Hearing Being Required for Disability Benefits
The two most important factors at the first two levels of review (Initial Application and Reconsideration) are your age and your residual functional capacity.
First of all, if you are under 50 years old, you are almost certain to have a hearing. If you’re under 50, Social Security considers you a younger person, and based on the Grids, you are “not disabled” by Social Security standards, in almost all circumstances.
If you are over 50, the Grid rules start to change. As you get older, the rules become more relaxed, as Social Security considers you less able to adjust to new types of work.
A Hearing As Part of Your SSDI Application Process May Not Be a Bad Thing
Even if you need to have a hearing, this may bring you advantages that you did not have before. The advantage of a hearing is two-fold. First, the state agency handling the L1 (Initial Application) and L2 (Reconsideration) stages of your application only reviewed paperwork. A hearing is an opportunity for the judge to see you in person, to ask questions, and to make a new decision that is based on more than just some paperwork. It is your chance to tell your story.
Second, the judge is not limited by the findings at the state level. The judge has many ways to find you disabled that are not considered at the earlier levels. This means you have a much better chance of being approved at hearing than you do at any other level of the disability process.
About Citizens Disability, LLC:
Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled.