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 get an answer on a disability claim?

In large measure, it depends on what level of the system your claim is pending at. Most claimants may potentially be exposed to three different levels of the claim system: the application for disability, the request for reconsideration (which is the very first appeal), and the request for hearing before an administrative law judge (the second appeal).

The disability application

The wait at this level tends to be under six months, and, very often, a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI claim can be received in under 120 days.

The application process begins with an application interview at a social security office. At that interview, the claimant provides all the necessary information regarding their medical treatment and work history. The claimant also supplies, to the best of their knowledge, the onset date for their disability.

In many cases, this alleged onset date (AOD) will correspond to the date that the individual stopped working. Of course, for those who were not employed at the time they became injured or ill (children, stay at home spouses, individuals between jobs, etc), the claimant will have to think of when their condition became severely limiting, having a restrictive effect on their ability to enage in normal activities of daily living.

How long it takes to receive an answer on a disability application can depend on a number of factors:

1. The disability examiner who has been assigned to process the case may have a particularly large caseload;

2. The claimant may be required to go to one or more consultative examinations (a CE is usually ordered to obtain recent medical evidence if a claimant has not been to a treatment provider in the last 90 days);

3. The disability examiner may have difficulty obtaining requested records from one or more medical sources.

Regarding the last, it is not unusual for disability examiners to have everything they need to finish processing a disability claim with the exception of one piece of evidence that has been repeatedly requested from a specific hospital. Sometimes, this involves multiple sendings of the information request and multiple followup calls as well.

The time it takes to process a disability application for SSD or SSI benefits is largely beyond the control of the claimant. That is, of course, except in the case of scheduled appointments.

If the disability examiner schedules the claimant for one or more CE (consultative exam) appointments, the claimant should call to confirm that they will attend the appointment. If something comes up, making it impossible to attend the appointment, the claimant should notify the disability examiner as soon as possible so the exam can be rescheduled.

Failing to attend a scheduled examination, and failing to notify the examiner about not being able to go to the appointment consumes unnecessary time and adds to how long it will take to get a decision on a claim. Very often, missing an appointment can add at least an additional month of time to a case.

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.

Filing an application for disability

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?

Will I Qualify for Disability in Colorado?

Can you work and apply for disability in Colorado?

What is the minimum you can get on disability in Colorado?

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.