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 it take to hear an answer after filing for disability?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
There are instances in which disability claims are resolved fairly quickly. As a disability examiner, I occasionally had cases in which either the claimant had submitted their own medical records at the time they filed their claim, or I had been able to obtain the medical records I requested fairly quickly. Getting the medical records quickly, of course, can greatly speed up the processing of an SSD or SSI claim; conversely, the wait for medical records usually accounts for the greatest amount of processing time on a disability claim.
Typically, and unfortunately, most disability claims are not resolved quickly. While initial claims, or disability applications are often decided in less than 90 to 120 days, they can also take longer than six months to receive a decision.
How long it takes after filing for disability will depend on a variety of factors. When it takes longer to receive a decision on a claim, however, it is generally due to one of the following reasons, or a combination of them:
1. The medical records were difficult to obtain. Sometimes, this is because the medical treatment facility simply did not respond to repeated requests for the records, and sometimes this may be due to the fact that a medical treatment source has either relocated, or is no longer in operation.
2. The claimant was scheduled by the social security administration to go to several consultative examinations. Consultative examinations are usually required when a claimant has not been seen by a doctor for quite some time and usually a claimant will be sent to one or two such examinations at most (typically, a physical examination and a mental consultative exam, such as an intelligence test or a mental status exam).
However, there are cases in which claimants are sent to multiple exams. This can be because delays on a case have caused the report issued from the consultative exam to become "aged" (older than 60 days), but it can also be because the report findings are not viewed as valid (in the case of intelligence testing, it may be that the claimant was not considered to have given their best effort, thus calling into question the validity of the test results).
3. The claimant may have failed repeatedly to respond to inquiries for information by either the social security office or by a disability examiner. Inquiries for information can include letters sent to a claimant requesting that the claimant contact the disability examiner working on the case. It can also include failures on the part of the claimant to return certain questionnaires or attend a scheduled examination appointment.
4. The disability examiner simply has a heavy caseload and the processing of cases is suffering as a result.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page