Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

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How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Speeding up the Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Process

Some take the position that there is no way of speeding up a social security disability or SSI claim. After all, claimants have no control over how much time it takes for a disability examiner to arrive at a decision on their case, and they likewise have no control over the following:

A) How much time it takes for an independent physician to get a report of their findings from a CE (consultative examination) back to the disability examiner.

B) Whether or not a case will be deferred for several months because a claimant had a medical event (e.g. a stroke) or a procedure (eye surgery, incidence of a heart attack) that necessitated this.

C) How long it took a local social security office to forward an appeal to Disability Determination Services where it would be assigned to a disability examiner for decision processing.

All these things are true and so it is tempting to say that claimants have no means of mediating how long the disability claim process takes. However, there actually are ways to speed up the process if you view the avoidance of certain mistakes as ways to speed the disability claim process along.

So, here's a list of mistakes to avoid that, typically, consume valuable time in a needless fashion.

1. If you get a notice from a disability examiner stating that you should go to a CE (a consultative medical examination conducted by a private practice physician who is being paid by SSA to render such services, otherwise known colloquially as a social security medical exam), go to the appointment.

If you miss the CE appointment for a valid reason, you can certainly ask for a rescheduled appointment. But it could add weeks of time to your case. As a disability examiner, I found that too high a percentage of applicants tended to miss their appointments, and this made for needless delays. Some applicants will even miss multiple appointments (which is why some doctors who perform CEs simply drop out of the program).

2. If you get denied on a disability claim, get the appeal filed IMMEDIATELY. Yes, claimants have two months from the date of the denial in which to do this. But why add time to your case? There's no rational reason for waiting 10 days before the deadline to get an appeal submitted, either on paper forms or online. Getting the appeal submitted immediately versus waiting right before the deadline is the same as...speeding up your case.

Note: if you have a disability attorney, make sure they take the same approach. I have seen some practitioners make a habit (though, in all honesty, this was the result of the lackadaisical habits of their support staff) of sending in appeals right before the expiration of the appeal deadline. You don't want this. Think about it: you're paying someone to handle your case--you're not paying someone to handle it in a way that makes your claim take longer than it should.

3. If you get a notice from a disability examiner requesting that you contact them, or you get a form in the mail from an examiner (such as an activities of daily living questionaire), respond quickly. Believe it or not, as slow as cases seem to get processed, disability examiners would really prefer to get those cases dispensed with sooner. Simply because they are evaluated, in part, based on their processing speed. So, complying with information requests can be a good way of helping the decision-maker to move as quickly as he or she can.

4. Here's the biggest one on this short list of mistakes to avoid: if you get denied, don't let your case simply die because you have failed to submit an appeal.

Some individuals do this and then, months later, decide to file a new claim. This amounts to a catastrophic waste of valuable time. Many individuals whose claims "go silent" for lack of action on a disability application could actually, in that same time span, have gotten through the reconsideration appeal stage and have had a request for hearing on record.

To address the topic with which we began, yes, there are ways of speeding up the process. And the best way to speed it up is to avoid costly, time-consuming errors.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Can I get my Social Security Disability Hearing Request Expedited, Speeded up?
Your disability attorney can attempt to speed up the scheduling of your case
How can you speed up a Social Security Disability case?
Dire Need and Getting a Social Security Disability or SSI Case Speeded Up
What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?
When does a case go to the Social Security Disability review board?
How long will an SSI or SSDI disability claim take?
Using a lawyer to potentially speed up the disability appeal process
Speeding up the Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Process
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount
Reasons to get a representative who specializes in disability claims only
When you apply for social security disability should you send copies of your xrays?
Getting approved for disability based on being blind
How to answer questions at a Social Security Disability CE examination
What disability claimants get angry about - Part II
How does Social Security consider pain?

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida