Topic Categories:

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

Ask a question, get an answer

Why Do Social Security Disability Claims Take So Long?

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

To the claimant filing for disability, the process of receiving a decision no doubt seems unnecessarily long, especially when the waiting period is generally one of financial and emotional hardship. Indeed, the wait for processing social security disability (SSD) or SSI claims has always been months rather than weeks, and it is growing even longer due to the increase in disability applications nationwide—an aging workforce and depressed economy have contributed to the backlog of disability cases filed with social security.

In addition, because disability claims are so often denied upon initial review, and must then pass through the first appeal (called a request for reconsideration), and then upon denial of the reconsideration appeal to a hearing before an administrative judge, the wait for a final decision on an application can stretch from several months into years (the wait to have a case heard before an administrative judge can take up to two years in some areas). In fact, most disability cases must work their way through all three levels, initial request, reconsideration appeal, and disability hearing, before they are finally (if ever) approved.

Although it is true that the process of disability claim approval is lengthy by its very nature, you stand the best chance of having your claim approved early on if you have provided your disability examiner with the contact information needed (this means everything) to obtain all medical records pertaining to your disabling medical condition.

This is because the examiner makes his or her disability determination based solely on information supplied in medical records from physicians and medical facilities whose names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., you have supplied in the your medical history.

The amount of time it takes to process your claim is therefore dependent in large part on the completeness and accuracy of the medical history you have provided, as well as how quickly those physicians listed forward your medical records to the disability examiner. If you have provided a sketchy medical history, the disability examiner will not be able to track down all of the information needed to corroborate your condition.

On the other hand, if you are confident that you have provided a solid medical history and should have received a decision by now (remember that the average wait to hear back on a disability claim is three to four months), you may want to call your disability examiner and find out if he or she needs more information or is having trouble getting your medical records (you can find out the phone number to the disability determination agency in your area by calling the social security office at which you filed the claim). It may be that you can speed up the process if you get the records from your physician yourself and then forward them to the examiner.

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

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews