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 will it usually take to get a decision on a disability claim?

In certain cases, a decision on a disability application can be received in just a few weeks, which is somewhat rare unless the claimant has a terminal condition, or their case presents a profile that is suitable for processing under compassionate allowance guidelines.

At the other end of the spectrum, decisions have been known to take as much as a year. This, however, is even more rare. When it happens, it is not simply due to difficulty that a disability examiner might have in obtaining medical records, or even due to the necessity of having to schedule multiple consultative medical examinations for the claimant. Or even due to the necessity of having to defer a case for several months because the claimant has suffered a heart attack or stroke (generally, this means the examiner will need to wait three months from the time of the incident to evaluate the claimant's residual functional capacity).

Disability applications that take such an extraordinary amount of time to process usually fall into a "perfect storm" category where many separate issues present problems simultaneously. And, fortunately, this does not happen often.

The average length of time it takes to get a disability decision

The average is what generally applies to most claims: An initial disability determination for SSI benefits or Social Security Disability benefits usually takes anywhere from 30 to 120 days.

If you are denied on a disability application and file an appeal of your disability claim, beginning with the first appeal, a reconsideration appeal, your claim will be sent back to the disability agency for another decision.

Note: When we say "disability agency", we actually mean DDS, or disability determination services, the state-level agency that makes decisions on SSD, SSI, and Medicaid disability claims for the social security administration.

A decision on a reconsideration appeal usually takes less time

As a general rule of thumb, most reconsiderations usually take a shorter amount of time, between 30 to 60 days.

Why? Mainly because much of the work has already been done at the disability application stage. For example, most, or all, of the medical records will already have been gathered.

Typically, a disability examiner working on a request for reconsideration should not have to request additional medical records from a claimant's treatment sources--hospitals, doctors, clinics, psychologists--unless their file is lacking "recent records". And this is more likely to be the case when the claimant has waited until close to the very last minute to file their appeal--which is usually the case.

For a disability examiner to make a decision, particularly an approval, they need to have at least some medical evidence that is not older than 90 days so that the claimant's current disability status can be determined. The reasoning for this is that the social security administration considers the individual more likely to be disabled when their current status shows that they meet the quidelines and severity requirements of the SSD and SSI programs.

Despite the fact that SSA allows a 60 day period in which to submit an appeal at any level of the system, it is always in a claimant's best interests to get the disability appeal filed immediately.

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?
What if Social Security Disability does not follow my doctor's assessment of my condition?

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.