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 for an examiner to review a disability case?

As a former disability examiner for the social security administration's DDS (disability determination services), I can accurately state that the actual review of a case does not take long at all. In fact, once the claimant's medical records and other evidence have been received, the case write-up can be completed within a handful of hours. Unfortunately, receiving just the medical records can often take weeks, and months is not unheard of.

It is for this reason that many claimants will benefit from gathering their own medical records from their various sources of medical treatment and then submitting these records at the time they file a claim for disability. Cases that arrive on a disability examiner's desk with the records already attached are usually looked at as an opportunity to get a case closed quickly, which can reflect positively on the examiner's processing statistics.

However, claimants who obtain their own records should make sure that they A) Get the records from ALL of their treatment sources and B) Get records from as far back as possible.

Getting the records from the earliest possible dates will help to prove that the claimant's state of disability exists as of the onset date alleged (AOD, or alleged onset date) on the disability application. And, of course, the earlier the onset date of the disability, the more in back pay benefits that the claimant may receive.

It should be noted, though, that medical records are not the only evidence that is gathered on a social security disability or SSI claim. Disability examiners will often be required to obtain all, or some, of the following evidence as well:

1. Additional information about the claimant's former job from a previous employer.

2. Current medical evidence in the form of a report of findings from a social security medical exam, otherwise known as a CE, or consultative examination (such an exam is typically ordered if the claimant has not received treatment for their condition in the last 90 days).

3. Information about the claimant's activities of daily living (ADLs) from either the claimant (obtained over the phone or on an ADL form), or obtained from someone the claimant has listed as a reliable third-party contact, a person who is often a friend, neighbor, or relative, but who is qualified to A) comment as to how the claimant spends their time and B) comment as to how well they are able to engage in normal daily activities.

When a disability examiner has all the information that they need to close a case, the decision can be reached in just a few hours. However, because of the time it takes to gather all the various pieces of evidence that is considered on a disability case, it can take, on average three to four months for a claimant to receive a decision on their claim.

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

Related pages:

What does a Social Security Disability Examiner do?
Can I Talk To the Disability Examiner Working On My Case?
How Does A Social Security Disability Examiner Determine a Personís Functional Limitations?
What happens if the Social Security disability examiner cannot find all the needed medical records?
How long does it take for an examiner to review a disability case?
Will the the SSA Examiner Call or Contact me about my Social Security Disability or SSI Claim?
What tools are used by a Social Security Disability Examiner to Make a Claim Decision?
After you file for SSD, the Disability Examiner may contact you for additional information
Filing a second application for disability
How long does it take to get SSI Disability Benefits?

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