How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How long does it take to receive disability benefits after you are approved?

How long it can take to get disability benefits following an approval, can vary tremendously. If you are only just filing a disability application in either the Social Security Disability or SSI disability program, you will, most likely, receive an answer within 12 weeks, or four months. Social Security Claims representatives often use a blanket statement that a disability application will be processed in 90 to 120 days.

It is important to bear in mind, however, that this may only be an agency processing goal. While most cases probably are determined within this timeframe, there are also cases that take six months to a year in order to deliver a decision on an SSD or SSI disability application.

These cases are the minority and tend to involve extenuating circumstances such as the disability examiner having a high degree of difficulty obtaining the claimant's medical records, or the claimant having to go to several consultative medical exams scheduled (and paid for) by Social Security.

Just the same, with so many variables involved in disability claims, it would not be prudent for a claimant to absolutely expect a decision and resolution to their claim in the quoted 90-120 day period.

Situations where disability applications can be decided quickly

Having said this, there are cases that are approved at the application level relatively quickly. For instance, if an individual has a disabling condition that a) fits the approval criteria of a quick disability decision case (known as QDD), b) is a physical or mental condition that is on the compassionate allowance list, c) is a terminal illness condition, or d) satisfies the criteria of a Social Security listing, they are likely to be approved for disability benefits in a fairly short amount of time.

Note: A relatively small number of cases qualify for disability through these avenues.

For claimants denied on a disability application (nationally, about 70 percent of all claims are denied at this level), the next step will be file the first appeal available to claimants. This is the request for reconsideration.

How long will it take to receive a decision on a reconsideration appeal

The reconsideration typically takes considerably less time to process than the disability application. This is because when the reconsideration takes place, just a few days or weeks following the disability application phase, most of the development work for the case has already been done, meaning the claimant's work history has been evaluated and their medical records have been obtained and evaluated.

It may be necessary to obtain additional medical records if, by the time of the reconsideration, there is no "recent" evidence in the file (recent is defined by SSA as evidence that is not older than 90 days). If so, this will add more processing time to the claim. Typically, though, a decision made at the reconsideration appeal level may be made within 60 days.

How long will it take to receive benefits after an approval has been made?

Now, assuming you are actually approved on a disability claim after a decision has been reached at the disability application or reconsideration appeal level, how long will it take to receive benefits? This can vary tremendously as well. Typically, the social security administration will try to get individuals into pay status within just a few weeks of their claim being approved.

However, if your approval comes at the level of a disability hearing, it may take longer for you to receive your benefits since your case may get hung up at a payment processing center.

And, of course, even if your disability judge indicates at the time of the hearing that your case will be approved, before the case is even sent to a payment processing center it may be delayed because the judge's decision is not final until it has been written by a decision writer and then mailed to you, the applicant. And in many cases getting the written decision can take months.

Of course, if you have representation, this is an ideal way to utilize your disability attorney by having his or her office conduct followups on the disposition of your case and the payout of your benefits.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security Disability?
How long does it take to get a decision on Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?
How long will it take to start getting disability benefits after you have received an award notice?
How Long Can You Receive Social Security Disability Benefits?
How long does it take to appeal a disability case?
How long does it take for the disability decision in North Carolina?
How long does it take to receive North Carolina disability benefits after you are approved?
How Long Will It Take For A Decision Letter For Social Security Disability?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Alabama
How long can it take to get disability in Colorado?

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

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.