SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
More questions about SSD and SSI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How Long Does A Social Security Disability Appeal Take?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The length of time a Social Security disability appeal takes is most affected by the appeal level of the disability claim. If an individual is appealing their initial disability decision, they have to file a reconsideration appeal. Generally, a reconsideration appeal decision does not take as long as an initial disability claim decision. Simply because reconsideration appeals are basically just a review of the decision on the initial claim, but this time performed by another disability examiner at the same state disability agency where disability determinations are made (this agency is known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services).
Sometimes the examiner who works on the reconsideration appeal does not even have to get any new medical information to make their decision. This is especially so if the disability claim had current medical information in it from the initial disability decision (on the disability application).
In these cases, the turn around time can be as a little as week or so. Therefore, as you might guess, very few initial disability decisions are overturned at the reconsideration appeal level.
Disability applicants run into long waits when they file their request for an administrative law judge hearing (the second appeal in the social security appeal system). Wait times for a disability hearing can be as long as a couple years in some areas of the country.
Why is the case? Social Security hearings offices across the nation have huge backlogs of hearing requests. Understandably, it is very hard to keep up with the onslaught of new hearings requests if Social Security is constantly working to try to clear the existing backlog of hearings requests.
Because of this, individuals should consider that they might be waiting for quite awhile for their appeal decisions especially if they are waiting for a disability hearing.
There is just no way around the fact that the disability appeal process can be a arduous journey filled with stress and financial difficulty simply because of the disability hearing wait time. And, of course, another fact that disability applicants should consider is that they may not win their disability benefits the first time, or even the second time they go through the disability claim process.
The best thing a disability applicant can do to speed up the Social Security appeal process is to make sure they (or their representative, who can be a disability attorney or a non-attorney representative), file their appeal quickly if they receive a denial notice. Just by doing this, an individual might shave off three or four months of processing time. And when an individual is desperately waiting for income, every month counts.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page