Many people who have been denied Social Security Disability benefits do not appeal because they believe the appeal is a sign they will again be told they do not qualify for benefits, and will receive only a boilerplate explanation. Instead, many opt to continue filing new applications, hoping that eventually they will be accepted.
In fact, most initial claims for benefits are denied, even for valid injury claims, usually for simple paperwork gaps or oversights. Social Security appeals involve a fairly thorough examination of your record by a qualified federal administrative law judge. Additionally, there is a fairly high probability of success. Well over half of claimants who appeal their cases to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) with the help of a Social Security attorney or other representative ultimately receive a fully favorable or partially favorable decision.
The downside to an appeal is that it can be a lengthy process. While processing times vary from one hearing office to the next, it can frequently be nearly a year from the time you request an appeal before you receive a hearing before an administrative law judge. Some cases, however, may be decided on the record without the need for a hearing. Others may be expedited if the claimant is in dire need of benefits.
Regardless of the delay, however, a successful claimant should still receive any benefits that would have been payable during the time the appeal was pending. While the delay is unfortunate, it is worth it in the end to get the opportunity to have your case heard along with a strong chance of being granted benefits.