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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

Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

Social Security Disability and SSI 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 Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

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

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How long does it take to hear an answer after filing for disability?

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:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria