Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
Requirements for Disability
Applications for disability
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after a Denial
Mental Disability Benefits
Denials for Disability
Appeals for denied claims
Disability Benefits from SSA
Child Disability Benefits
Qualifications and How to Qualify
Working and Disability
Disability Awards and Notices
Disability Lawyers, Hiring Attorneys
Social Security List of Conditions
What Social Security considers disabling
Medical Evidence and Disability
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
How long does it take to appeal a disability case?
The social security administration does not employ specific deadlines for case processing on applications or appeals. This is very different from other types of programs, such as the types of programs that may be applied for at the Department of Social Services which have very distinct deadlines. The reason for the lack of processing deadlines on social security disability and SSI disability claims is fairly easy to understand, however. SSD and SSI claims cannot be properly decided until two things occur.
1. The claimant's medical records must be gathered.
2. The claimant's medical records must be properly evaluated.
Regarding the first item and speaking as a former disability examiner, I can state that obtaining medical records can be harder in some cases than in others, particularly when it involves attempts to locate older records. Also, some doctor's offices and hospitals are simply much slower at responding to record's requests.
Regarding the second item, the disability evaluation process can sometimes take longer due to the fact that a claimant's medical records will be read, reviewed, and evaluated not only by the disability examiner who has been assigned to the case, but also by a physician (or pschologist for mental impairments) that is assigned to the examiner's processing unit, and by the disability examiner's unit supervisor.
So, having said all this, how long does an appeal take? The first appeal, the reconsideration, can sometimes take longer than an initial claim. But, very often, reconsiderations are decided more quickly, simply because the claim is being looked at a second time by the same agency just a few weeks after the initial claim (i.e. the disability application) was processed.
On average, reconsideration appeals take about 30-60 days. The second appeal, the disability hearing before a federal administrative law judge, can take considerably longer. After requesting a hearing, it can take 1-2 years to get a hearing date. This depends on where you live and how backed up your local hearing office is.
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