Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
How long does it take to receive disability benefits after you are approved?
How long it can take to get disability benefits following an approval, can vary tremendously. If you are only just filing a disability application in either the social security disability or SSI disability program, you will, most likely, receive an answer within 12 weeks, or four months. Social Security Claims representatives often use a blanket statement that a disability application will be processed in 90 to 120 days.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that this may only be an agency processing goal. While most cases probably are determined within this timeframe, there are also cases that take six months to a year in order to deliver a decision on a disability application.
These cases are the minority and tend to involve extenuating circumstances such as the disability examiner having a high degree of difficulty obtaining the claimant's medical records, or the claimant having to go to several consultative medical exams scheduled (and paid for) by Social Security.
Just the same, with so many variables involved in disability claims, it would not be prudent for a claimant to absolutely expect a decision and resolution to their claim in the quoted 90-120 day period.
Situations where disability applications can be decided quickly
Having said this, there are cases that are approved at the application level relatively quickly. For instance, if an individual has a disabling condition that a) fits the approval criteria of a quick disability decision case (known as QDD), b) is a physical or mental condition that is on the compassionate allowance list, c) is a terminal illness condition, or d) satisfies the criteria of a Social Security listing, they are likely to be approved for disability benefits in a fairly short amount of time.
Note: A relatively small number of cases qualify for disability through these avenues.
For claimants who have been denied on a disability application (nationally, about 70 percent of all claims are denied at this level), the next step will be file the first appeal available to claimants. This is the request for reconsideration.
How long will it take to receive a decision on a reconsideration appeal
The reconsideration typically takes considerably less time to process than the disability application. This is because when the reconsideration takes place, just a few days or weeks following the disability application phase, most of the development work for the case has already been done, meaning the claimant's work history has been evaluated and their medical records have been obtained and evaluated.
It may be necessary to obtain additional medical records if, by the time of the reconsideration, there is no "recent" evidence in the file (recent is defined by SSA as evidence that is not older than 90 days). If so, this will add more processing time to the claim. Typically, though, a decision made at the reconsideration appeal level may be made within 60 days.
How long will it take to receive benefits after an approval has been made?
Now, assuming you are actually approved on a disability claim after a decision has been reached at the disability application or reconsideration appeal level, how long will it take to receive benefits? This can vary tremendously as well. Typically, the social security administration will try to get individuals into pay status within just a few weeks of their claim being approved.
However, if your approval comes at the level of a disability hearing, it may take longer for you to receive your benefits since your case may get hung up at a payment processing center.
And, of course, even if your disability judge indicates at the time of the hearing that your case will be approved, before the case is even sent to a payment processing center it may be delayed because the judge's decision is not final until it has been written by a decision writer and then mailed to you, the applicant. And in many cases getting the written decision can take months.
Of course, if you have representation, this is an ideal way to utilize your disability attorney by having his or her office conduct followups on the disposition of your case and the payout of your benefits.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria