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 be approved and awarded disability benefits?

Though the Social Security Administration has mandated time goals for processing disability claims, there is no specific deadline for processing a Social Security Disability or SSI claim. Some individuals are approved in under a month, while others may not be approved for disability for a couple of years or more.

There are a number of factors that affect the timely processing of disability claims. Some individuals have no current medical records; consequently a consultative examination (a consultative exam is a medical and/or mental examination paid for by the Social Security Administration) may need to be scheduled to evaluate the severity of an individual's conditions. This, of course, adds processing time to a disability claim.

Another factor that affects the time it takes for your disability claim to be approved or denied is availability of past and current medical records. Some medical providers are fairly slow about sending medical records to the state agency responsible for processing disability claims (this agency is usually called DDS in most states, or disability determination services).

You may expedite the processing of your disability claim by getting your medical records and submitting them when you file your disability claim or at any time during the decision making process if the disability examiner is having a hard time getting them.

If you do not have any current medical records that address your disabilities or the disability examiner feels they need a further review of your disabling condition, you may be required to go to a doctor for a consultative examination. This may add significant time to your disability case. It really depends on how quickly they are able to schedule an examination and how soon the examining doctor gets their report back to the disability examiner. If you have an appointment scheduled, you should try not to miss it or reschedule it. Rescheduling could add more time to your disability claim, and missing it could cause your disability claim to be denied.

Generally, it takes thirty to a hundred days for an initial disability decision. If you are fortunate enough to get an approval on your initial disability claim, you will be approved for disability in a hundred days or less. If you are not approved for disability benefits on your initial disability claim, you will have to use the Social Security Disability appeal process. And this means it will take longer to be approved for disability.

The first level of the disability appeal process is the reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeals take about sixty days to receive a decision. If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you must file a request for a disability hearing. The wait time for a disability hearing can be a few months or a couple of years.

How can you help your Social Security Disability claim move as fast in the system as possible? You can expedite your disability claim by going to consultative exams, by providing necessary information expeditiously, and by making sure that Social Security is able to contact you by mail and phone (disability claims are routinely denied because disability examiners are unable to reach disability applicants to schedule consultative examinations or to obtain additional information).

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?
If approved at a disability hearing, when do you get a letter or check?
If you apply for disability in in Louisiana
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Louisiana

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.