Factors that affect how Long it takes for A Social Security Decision Letter
There is no way to give an exact amount of time as to how long it will take to get your decision letter from Social Security. There are many factors that contribute to the length of time it takes to receive a decision letter on a claim for either Social Security Disability or SSI disability.
One of the biggest influences upon the length of time it takes to get your decision letter is the making of the decision itself. If your disability claim is denied, you will receive a decision letter as soon as your medical decision is made. But if you are approved for disability benefits your disability claim is sent back to your local Social Security office for final processing.
Why does this occur? Your local Social Security office may have to address issues such as 1. workman's compensation offset (all disability applicants who received workman's compensation benefits and/or settlements have some kind of offset to their disability benefits for some amount of time), 2. capability (some disability applicants are medically approved with the stipulation that they need someone to help them manage their disability benefits), and lastly 3. some disability claims require manual processing (these take more time because they cannot be processed through normal computer programs and require the claims representative to manually process them into pay status). <!middle_ad_-->
These factors and possibly others could delay your decision letter if you are approved.
Another factor that affects the time is takes to receive a decision letter for Social Security Disability and SSI claims is the level of the disability process that your claim is at. If your disability claim is at the disability application level or the reconsideration appeal level, you may receive your decision notice in an average of thirty to ninety days, whereas if your disability claim is at the administrative law judge disability hearing level it could take months or even a year or more to receive your decision notice simply because of the longer wait time for the hearing itself.
Additionally, hearings are sent to payment centers for processing if they result in an approval for benefits, which can add more time on the length of time it takes for a decision letter.
Although there are a multitude of factors that might affect how long it takes to get decision letter, the length of time it takes to make the medical decision in initial claims and reconsiderations and the wait time for a disability hearing are the biggest factors.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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