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

Why Do Social Security Disability Claims Take So Long?

To the claimant filing for disability, the process of receiving a decision no doubt seems unnecessarily long, especially when the waiting period is generally one of financial and emotional hardship. Indeed, the wait for processing Social Security Disability (SSD) or SSI claims has always been months rather than weeks, and it is growing even longer due to the increase in disability applications nationwide—an aging workforce and depressed economy have contributed to the backlog of disability cases filed with social security.

In addition, because disability claims are so often denied upon initial review, and must then pass through the first appeal (called a request for reconsideration), and then upon denial of the reconsideration appeal to a hearing before an administrative judge, the wait for a final decision on an application can stretch from several months into years (the wait to have a case heard before an administrative judge can take up to two years in some areas). In fact, most disability cases must work their way through all three levels, initial request, reconsideration appeal, and disability hearing, before they are finally (if ever) approved.

Although it is true that the process of disability claim approval is lengthy by its very nature, you stand the best chance of having your claim approved early on if you have provided your disability examiner with the contact information needed (this means everything) to obtain all medical records pertaining to your disabling medical condition.

This is because the examiner makes his or her disability determination based solely on information supplied in medical records from physicians and medical facilities whose names, addresses, phone numbers, etc., you have supplied in the your medical history.

The amount of time it takes to process your claim is therefore dependent in large part on the completeness and accuracy of the medical history you have provided, as well as how quickly those physicians listed forward your medical records to the disability examiner. If you have provided a sketchy medical history, the disability examiner will not be able to track down all of the information needed to corroborate your condition.

On the other hand, if you are confident that you have provided a solid medical history and should have received a decision by now (remember that the average wait to hear back on a disability claim is three to four months), you may want to call your disability examiner and find out if he or she needs more information or is having trouble getting your medical records (you can find out the phone number to the disability determination agency in your area by calling the social security office at which you filed the claim). It may be that you can speed up the process if you get the records from your physician yourself and then forward them to the examiner.

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?

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.