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
Is Social Security required to make a decision on a disability case in a certain time period?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The simple answer to this question is that Social Security does have timely processing goals, but there are no mandates with regard to processing time. Social Security does not have an absolute time period for claims processing, because there are many reasons the processing of a disability claim can be delayed.
Claimants themselves cause some case processing delays. For example, if a claimant does not provide necessary information (i.e. activities of daily living questionnaires or work activity forms) timely, or fail to return needed medical release or disability forms, or a correct address and phone (needed so they can be reached to schedule need medical consultative examinations), their disability case will take longer to receive a decision.
Additionally, disability claimants cause delays by missing or rescheduling their consultative examinations. All of these things cause more processing time, thereby extending the time period it takes to make a disability decision.
There are also delays in case processing that can be attributed to Social Security. Claims representatives are sometimes slow in getting disability claims to state disability agencies. Sometimes state disability agencies (usually known as DDS, or disability determination services, this is where disability examiners work) take more time to make their disability decisions due to dramatically increasing disability caseloads and lack of staffing.
Certainly, it is advisable to check on the status of your disability claim periodically to make sure that it is being processed. There is always the chance the disability decision has been made and for some reason you have not received your decisional notice.
Currently, the average case processing time for an initial disability claim is about one hundred days, while reconsideration appeals take about sixty days for a decision. Disability cases at the hearing appeal level have the longest processing time because of the wait for a disability hearing. Disability claimants are often waiting a year or more to get their hearings.
Disability case processing times have become a public relations issue for Social Security, so they are constantly trying to streamline the disability process so that disability decisions can be made in a more reasonable time period even if the disability case is at the hearing office.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
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