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

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).

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

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?

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