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
Disability Denials and Filing 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 Back Pay and the disability award notice
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 appeal a disability case?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
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
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews