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

Decision for Social Security Disability in Missouri — How long must I wait?

There is no set timeframe in which a claim for Social Security Disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) must be decided. Unlike Medicaid cases, which must by law be decided within three months of the application date, SSD and SSI cases are not governed by any deadline.

This can be understandably frustrating to those disabled individuals filing in Missouri for disability benefits, as they are most certainly coping with financial difficulties (otherwise they would not be seeking disability income), and would like to know exactly when (or if) they can expect to receive their first disability check. It is certainly one of the most common questions posed by disability applicants when they first submit their claim to social security.

There is no way to honestly answer this question on an individual basis, although the social security administration (SSA) does provide each claimant a date by which it is estimated they will receive a decision. This estimation is, of course, only an average; most disability decisions are received in approximately four months after the application is filed, but this does not hold true for everyone.


1. Social Security Disability SSI decision process
2. how Long it takes for A Social Security Decision Letter
3. Social Security Disability and SSI Application and Appeal Process
4. The Social Security Disability Determination Process

In fact, SSA has no way of knowing the actual number of days it will take for a claim to be evaluated. Disability decisions are made not within the federal social security administration, but are instead forwarded to the state agency responsible for making medical evaluations regarding a claimant’s disability, most commonly called disability determination services (DDS), but known by other names as well, depending upon the state.

There are a number of variables that can affect the processing time of a claim once it arrives at DDS, including case backlogs, difficulty obtaining medical records from physicians and medical facilities, the need to schedule additional tests or exams to corroborate (or disprove) the claimant’s medical condition, etc.

So, the most an applicant for SSD or SSI can hope for is that their case is decided within the average period of time quoted by SSA: about four months for a decision on the initial application, and up to two years before a hearing with an administrative law judge is granted if DDS rejects both the initial application and the first appeal.

True, there are some disability cases that are decided in a matter of weeks; however, these are in the minority. Most cases will take a few months, and some can drag on for over a year, prior to requesting a hearing. Unfortunately, there’s just no way to know for sure the date that you will receive that first disability payment, much less a decision at any level of the process, regardless of the nature of your disability or the extent of your financial need.

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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.