Your case may be decided quickly or take a long, so prepare for the worst

I mention on this site that you should never believe the SSA claims rep (the person who takes your application) that you will receive a decision in 120 days. Yes, it may happen in that span of time. And most of the time, it usually does. It may even happen sooner. But...it may also happen much much later.

So, by all means, do not make any financial plans based on what your local social security field or district office tells you. Because they just don't know. And even the examiner who processes your case at whatever state agency is used by SSA to make medical determations (usually, the state agency is known as DDS, or disability determination services) won't know when he/she will be done with a particular case---until the day the case is finished.

How many Social Security Disability or SSI claims are won at application? According to recent federal statistics (from fiscal year 2003), only about 23% of initial disability claims were won. At the first appeal step, the stats were even more dismal: only 12.3% of cases were won.

Should you get really depressed over this? Not really. As I mentioned in a prior post, at the hearing level (this is a national statistic), Social Security Disability claimants with representation have a 63.6% chance of winning benefits (without representation, the figure drops to 40.1%).

So, if you get denied on a claim, don't give up. APPEAL. And if you get denied again, file another appeal and get your case before a judge.

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.

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability in North Carolina

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI

Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

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?

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Related pages:

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Disability requirements and how to file in California
Partial disability benefits
How to File for SSI
How long does it take to get a disability approval letter?
Applying for disability, medical conditions
What to expect at a Social Security Disability medical exam
Will Social Security contact me about my Disability Hearing?
How many disability applications are approved?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?