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 can it take to get disability benefits in Colorado?
There is no certain answer to this question. The facts of each individual’s disability claim will determine how long it will take to get Social Security Disability benefits or SSI benefits.
For example, if an individual applying for disability is approved at the initial claim or disability application level, it may be that they receive their approval within the timeframe often quoted by CRs. This tends to be 90-120 days.
Note: The CR is the field office claims representative who handles the intake portion of the claim, sends the claim to a disability examiner at DDS for a disability determination, and then receives the case back from the examiner to finalize the claim.
Special Situations for quicker disability decisions
There are, of course, many cases that are approved at the application level much more quickly than this.
For instance, if an individual has a disabling condition that:
A) fits the disability approval criteria of a QDD (quick disability decision) decision case,
B) is a condition that is on the compassionate allowance list,
C) is a terminal condition, or finally,
D) the severity of their condition satisfies the criteria of a Social Security Disability impairment listing,
--then they are likely to be approved for disability benefits in a fairly short amount of time.
Disability claims that involve a terminal condition are processed in thirty days or less, while cases that involve QDD or Compassionate allowance conditions may take a little longer than thirty days but are still quickly processed.
In other instances, it may be that the disability examiner rendering the decision has been able to quickly assemble the medical records from the medical treatment sources listed on the claim, thus resulting in a speedy decision.
Note: This can also be facilitated in certain cases when the claimant supplies all their medical records when they file: however, a claimant needs to be sure to include all of their older and current records for this strategy to be effective.
On the other hand, there are cases in which an initial claim will take between 6 months to a year for a decision to be reached. In such cases, it may be that the claimant has had their case deferred to await the outcome of a surgical procedure (or a stroke or a heart attack), or has had multiple Social Security medical exams scheduled, or the examiner has had extreme difficulty obtaining the claimant's records---or perhaps all these situations have been encountered.
Suffice it to say, an initial disability decision in Colorado takes anywhere from a few days to a few months. However, if the disability claim involves any of the afore-mentioned scenarios such as QDD or a compassionate allowance, or a terminal condition, they are likely to get their disability quickly, especially if their disability claim involves a terminal condition.
Most claims in Colorado are initially denied
The reality is that most disability claims are not approved for Social Security Disability benefits in Colorado at the initial disability claim level.
An average of thirty-five percent of initial disability claims are an approval, and the remaining 65-70 percent of denied claimants will face the prospect of having to give up on their claim, or go through the Social Security appeal process.
The first level of that process is the reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeal decisions generally take about sixty days to receive a disability decision, sometimes less, sometimes more. Unfortunately, reconsideration appeals have an even lower rate of approval than initial disability claims.
Which means the vast majority of individuals who begin the disability appeal process will have to continue the appeal process to the level of an administrative law judge disability hearing.
The Social Security hearing appeal takes the longest amount of time to receive decision. The bulk of the time is spent waiting for a disability hearing date. Due to large backlogs at hearing offices across the country, wait times are anywhere between a few months to nearly two years.
However, this level of the Social Security Disability process is the most favorable to disability applicants. More than 60 percent of all disability hearings where representation is involved result in an approval for disability benefits.
Note: The request for reconsideration appeal step is currently suspended in the state of Colorado as Colorado is one of 10 prototype states testing a system in which denied claims move immediately to the hearing level upon appeal. Reconsideration may be reinstated at some point and many consider this likely. In the meantime, a claimant who is denied on a disability application should request, and prepare, for a hearing before a federal administrative law judge.
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Most popular topics on SSDRC.com
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Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application
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How to apply for disability - where to apply
Qualifications for disability benefits
How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits
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New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
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Individual Questions and Answers
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.