Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

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

Disability Claims Through Social Security — How Long is the Process?

If you have recently filed a claim for social security disability (SSD), it may take longer than you think to receive a decision in your case.

While it is true the average time elapsed between the time you apply for disability and the time you receive a decision is about 90 days, many cases are not decided within this timeframe. It is not uncommon for it to take up to six months (or even longer) to receive a decision from disability determination services (DDS).

While it may be tempting to blame the slow pace on the disability examiner assigned to your case, it is far more likely that delays are caused by the failure of physicians and hospitals to forward medical records to the examiner in a timely fashion.

It may be hard to believe, but the disability examiner (who evaluates your level of disability based on information given in your medical records) has about as much incentive to process claims quickly as the claimants themselves. Examiners’ performance evaluations are based on the number of cases they are able to close over a given period of time.

If three to four months has passed since you filed for disability and you haven’t received word from DDS, call the social security office at which you filed the claim and ask if they can tell you if there has been a decision in your case. You can also ask them for the phone number to for the disability determination services in your area (this can go by a different name, but usually has the word disability somewhere in the title), because if you really want a detailed status of your disability case, this is where you need to call.

DDS should be able to direct you to the disability examiner who is assigned to your case, who can tell you if the case is pending or if a decision has been reached on your disability application or reconsideration appeal.

It can also give you the chance to find out the nature of the delay in your case—if your examiner is having difficulty getting records from a particular physician, you may want to call the doctor’s office yourself, and (politely!) remind them that DDS has made a request for your records.

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

Related pages:

How are Social Security Disability cases decided? - the Process Social Security Uses In Every Disability Case
What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?
Filing for Disability - Can you speed up the Social Security Disability process?
Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
Crucial Information about the Social Security Disability Application Process and SSI
Disability Claims Through Social Security — How Long is the Process?
The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria