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
Why does it take so long for social security to get medical records?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
People who file for disability are often amazed at how long the claims process takes. This is especially so if the claim gets denied at the disability application level and the claimant is forced to enter into the disability appeal process (the first appeal is the request for reconsideration, and the second appeal is the request for hearing; there are other appeals, however most cases are either resolved, or end, at the hearing level). Appeals can certainly cause a disability claim to take months or even years.
Despite the fact that social security disability claims and SSI claims can take this long before benefits are finally awarded, disability examiners, the individuals who work to process case decisions actually try to get cases closed as quickly as possible.
This is simply because disability examiners, who work at disability determination services (DDS is the agency that handles claims processing for the social security administration), are rated and evaluated according to how fast they can get their work done.
The very first thing that happens in the development of an SSD or SSI claim is this: the examiner who has been assigned to the case will send out requests for MER, which stands for medical evidence of record, or, simply put, medical records from the claimant's doctors and hospitals. The medical records requests are generated electronically and typically these records requests letters are mailed out the very same day that the examiner has been assigned to the case.
If the disability examiner gets the letters requesting records sent out so quickly, why does it take so long for social security to get the medical records and review them. This is because many medical providers are very slow in responding to requests for records.
In many instances, disability examiners must re-request the records numerous times. This can involve sending fax requests (after the original requests have been mailed out) and making phone calls to medical records departments to do followups.
Disability claims are based solely on the information contained in a claimant's records. And favorable decisions cannot be made without the records being in place. Therefore, it's fairly simple to see that delays in getting records can disadvantage claimants. For this reason, claimants who obtain their own medical records and submit them at the time of applying for disability benefits can sometimes cut processing time from their cases.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page