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?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
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
If I Request A Hearing For SSDI or SSI Disability, How Long Will I have to Wait?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The hardest part of the Social Security disability process, other than being denied, is the wait for a decision at each level of the disability process. When you file an initial disability claim, you have to wait several weeks to receive your decision. The average time for a decision on an initial disability claim is about one hundred days.
If your initial disability claim is denied, you must file a reconsideration appeal. The average wait time for a reconsideration appeal decision is about sixty days. If you are not approved at the reconsideration level, you have the longest wait ahead of you.
The wait for an administrative law judge hearing appeal is a long one. There is no simple answer to how long your wait will be for a hearing. Social Security hearing’s offices across the country are receiving record numbers of disability hearings requests and these new requests must be dealt with in addition to the backlog of hearing requests most disability hearings offices have already.
Simply put, you may have to wait many months to even be scheduled for a hearing. In fact, the average wait time for a hearing is twelve months or more in most parts of the country. Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to reduce the time it takes to get a disability hearing.
The only real possibility of expediting your disability hearing request appeal is for you or your representative to file a letter of dire need. If you decide to file a letter of dire need, make sure to send evidence to support your dire financial situation. For example, send late notices, foreclosure or eviction notices, or any other bills or notices that corroborate that you are in dire need.
Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not. Remember, most people are in dire financial need by the time they request a hearing, so not everyone’s hearing can be expedited.
Since you cannot really do much about how long your wait will be for a disability hearing, you can save time by filing appeals as quickly. If you wait sixty days each time to file an appeal, you have added roughly four months to your overall disability claim processing time.
Additionally, make sure to provide the disability examiner handling your disability claim or appeal with any information they request as quickly possible. And if you are required to attend a consultative examination try to avoid rescheduling or missing the appointment.
If time is saved processing your initial disability claim and reconsideration appeal, at least the overall time for your disability case will be reduced. After all, the entire disability process from initial disability claim to the disability hearing is about getting your disability benefits as quickly as possible.
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Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials