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
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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How Long Does it Take To Get An Answer On A Social Security Application For Disability?
Once you file a Social Security application for disability, it is sent to a state disability agency for an initial disability determination. If an applicant’s disability application is based upon a terminal condition, there are special handling guidelines in place to process their disability claim quickly.
Disability applications based on terminal conditions are usually processed to completion in thirty days or less, so that the applicant will receive their disability benefits as soon as possible. Social Security has also created the quick disability determination (QDD) process which analyzes key data contained in the disability file. This analysis is used to predict which disability cases involve an applicant with a high probability of being disabled.
Lastly, Social Security uses the compassionate allowance process to approve individuals with various cancers, ALS, Tay Sachs, and a multitude of other severe medical conditions quickly. There are eighty-eight impairments that qualify for the compassionate allowance process.
While these processes help disability applicants with the most severe medical conditions, they are not available to all who file an application for disability with Social Security. Most applicants have to wait about three to four months for a decision to be made, because the disability determination process can take time.
Once an applicant’s disability file is received by the state disability processing agency, it is assigned to an examiner. The disability examiner has to review the file to determine if there is enough current medical evidence in the file to make a disability determination.
While Social Security disability examiners like to have at least a twelve month treatment history for an applicant’s disabling condition or conditions, they can make only make a determination on the medical evidence in file if there is at least some evidence that is no more than ninety days old. They will still request medical records from all the medical sources listed in the file, however if the records are not current they may still have to use a consultative examination to get current medical evidence for the applicant.
Social Security routinely sets goals to increase the speed at which disability applications are processed. Unfortunately, it takes time to get all the necessary evidence need to make a disability determination--especially if consultative examinations are involved. Coupled with a dramatic increase in disability applications across the country, it is not difficult to see why it takes so long to receive a disability decision.
If you file an application for disability with Social Security, you should be prepared for a wait unless you have a condition that might qualify for one of the streamline processes designed to help those with the most severe medical impairments.
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