The SSDI/SSI applications process can be a long and winding road toward receiving your monthly benefits. Once you have filed an initial application, it can take up to 4 months before you receive your initial decision from Disability Determination Services.
If your SSDI claim was denied in New Mexico, after you receive your initial decision, a process called reconsideration begins. Reconsideration, which is the stage our office begins to take on cases, can take anywhere between 6 and 8 months before a decision is made. Some instances of appealing social security disability decisions will exceed this time frame due to factors that vary from case to case.
If your SSDI claim is denied in New Mexico, once you receive your reconsideration decision, a hearing needs to be requested with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Once this process begins, you are looking at a timeframe anywhere between 16-18 months. This is due to the process that leads up to properly developing your case evidence before the hearing, among other factors. Once your hearing is assigned to an ALJ, you will have meetings with your attorney to prepare for what goes on at the hearing, as well to ensure that your case evidence has been properly submitted. It will then take approximately 30 to 90 days to get a hearing decision once the hearing had been held.
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Cases can also go beyond this point if the judge make an unfavorable decision in your case. If this occurs, you need assistance appealing your social security disability decision to the Social Security Appeals Council. Cases at the Appeals Council level take anywhere between 16-18 months. During this time, there are no meetings with your attorney. The case simply just takes that long to review to determine whether the judge’s decision was reasonable or not. Most attorneys stop here, but at our office, we consider taking cases all the way to Federal Court. If the attorney decides there are issues that can be appealed at Federal Court, there is no definite time period to expect to wait. This stage moves on a case-by-case basis. If your case is won at Federal Court, it will end up back at another hearing before an ALJ. Even so, this is another opportunity to submit additional evidence in support of your case. With all of these complex factors involved, it is important to contact an attorney from Michael Armstrong Law if your SSDI claim was denied in New Mexico.
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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the time one can generally expect to wait is extended at each stage by 3-4 months or longer. This is particularly the case if you choose to postpone your hearing until in-person hearings begin to happen again, as for now, all hearings are currently held by phone only.