If you are denied at the reconsideration level, you then have 60 days in which to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (or ALJ).
This is the longest phase of the three.
This is the phase that frustrates most people. As the time can be anywhere from one to two years from when they request a hearing to when one is granted. In that time, you may exhaust all your resources, be out of work and have mountain of medical bills that need paid. My wish is that this phase was shortened because many people end up losing their homes, moving in with friends or family. While they wait, and wait, and wait, for their case to be heard.
There are many reasons why the hearing phase takes so long…
(1) an abundance of people are applying for Social Security Disability benefits,
(2) the downturn in economy found many older workers without jobs,
(3) Baby Boomers hitting their 60’s but haven’t reached retirement age,
(4) workers that injured or sick and can no longer perform the jobs they were trained to do,
(5) Social Security not hiring enough workers to review the influx of claimants.
Each medical file contains hundreds or even thousands of pages of records that must be read, analyzed and cross examined in order for the Social Security Judge to understand each case to make a proper disability determination.