Social Security Disability Resource Center
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Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions
Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
It is well known that the disability determination process is often long and drawn out. There is no deadline by which a disability examiner is required to render a decision regarding disability benefits, although in most cases a claimant will receive a decision on their application within a few months. Some cases are decided more quickly, within weeks, and some can take up to a year (both scenarios are in the minority).
So what does it mean if your case is one of those that seems to be taking forever to decide? Is it an indication that someone in the disability process, perhaps the claims rep that took your application at the social security office, or the disability examiner assigned to your case, is lazy or incompetent?
The answer to this question is most certainly no. In fact, since the job performance of everyone working at the federal social security administration and state disability determination services agency is evaluated by how quickly and efficiently disability cases are closed, just about everyone involved in processing your request for benefits wants to move your claim through the system as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can impede a disability examiner’s progress as they begin to process an application, the most common being difficulty receiving the medical records they need to make a decision regarding a claimant’s disability claim status.
Many individuals actually delay a decision in their own claim by providing incomplete medical history and physician contact information on the disability application that they initially submitted to social security. If the disability examiner cannot locate a claimant’s physician or medical facilities that have provided treatment, then there is no way to get copies of diagnosis, x-rays, MRIs, patient files, etc.
Even when the disability examiner is able to contact the doctors or hospitals listed on your application, many medical professionals and institutions are notorious for their slow response to requests for medical records.
In addition, some cases may have to be put on hold until the results of surgery, physical therapy, treatment with a new medication, or any other new development in the case, can be ascertained. Federal disability benefits are awarded only to individuals who are judged to be severely disabled, or disabled to the point that they are unable to support themselves financially for a period of at least a year.
If there is a chance that any treatment can significantly improve an impairment, Social Security will hold off with their decision until the effects of the treatment on a claimant’s symptoms can be evaluated.
Keep in mind that, although it is true that everyone in the disability determination process wants your case to be decided quickly, it is also true that everyone in the disability determination process wants to make sure that benefits are awarded only to those who can document, through medical evidence, that they are truly, severely disabled.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
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Social Security Disability list of impairments
Social Security Disability Application
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Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Medical exams for disability claims
Applying for Disability in various states
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits
FAQ on Disability Claim Representation
Disability hearings before Judges
Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
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
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
How are Social Security Disability cases decided? - the Process Social Security Uses In Every Disability Case
What is the process for approving a Social Security disability claim?
Filing for Disability - Can you speed up the Social Security Disability process?
Why is the Social Security Disability Decision Process So Slow?
Crucial Information about the Social Security Disability Application Process and SSI
Disability Claims Through Social Security — How Long is the Process?
The Social Security disability award notice process in North Carolina
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
Filing for retroactive disability benefits
Why does Social Security take five months of benefits when you are awarded?
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