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SSDRC Disability Blog

Why does it take so long to get a decision on a disability case in Pennsylvania?

A disability claim that is filed with the social security administration on the basis of being disabled can take quite a while to process at the first stage. The first stage, of course, is the application stage. How long does this stage take? There are no deadlines and cases can take weeks or months. Most often, a decision on an application will be handed down in three or four months. But...sometimes it can take up to a year (though this is rare).

Believe it or not, though, every individual who is connected to your case wants to get it processed as quickly as possible and this includes the claims rep at the social security office who took your disability application, the disability examiner who reviews your medical records, the examiner's supervisor, and, to a smaller extent, even the claims rep's supervisor at the social security office.

So, why then does it take so long to get a decision in Pennsylvania on a social security disability or ssi case? Here's why: a disability examiner cannot render a determination on a disability case (an approval or denial) without first receiving a claimant's medical records. And waiting to receive a claimant's medical records can take a fair amount of time. And, depending on the hospital or other medical provider in question, may take an inordinate amount of time. Of course, there are other issues that may influence how long it takes to receive a notice of decision, such as quality review on a case.


1. How long does it take to get a disability decision?
2. How does social security make a disability determination?
3. Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
4. Who makes the Determination on a Social Security Disability Claim?

Another factor that may require a case to "pend" longer may be recent medical procedures that a claimant has had. For example, if a disability claimant files on the basis of impaired vision, but has had recent eye surgery, the case may be required to be held for 3 months (to assess the outcome of the surgery and the residual effects) before a decision can be made (this also applies to heart attacks and strokes).

Generally speaking, though, the long wait for a disability decision is generally attributable to how long it takes a disability examiner to get a claimant's medical records.

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

Filing for disability in Pennsylvania

Applying for disability in Pennsylvania

Filing for disability or SSI in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania SSI disability benefits

Qualifying, will I qualify for disability in Pennsylvania?

Social Security disability SSI and being permanently disabled in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania disability claim staus

Why a disability case in Pennsylvania takes so long

Disability decisions and denials in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Social Security Disability SSI decisions

If you get denied for disability in Pennsylvania

After being denied for disability in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania disability appeals and hearings

Filing a disability appeal in Pennsylvania

Chances of winning disability on an appeal in Pennsylvania?

How can you improve the chance of winning disability in Pennsylvania?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in Pennsylvania?

Winning a disability hearing in Pennsylvania

Hiring a disability lawyer in Pennsylvania

Getting a disability lawyer in Pennsylvania

How will a Pennsylvania disability lawyer help my claim?

The cost to hire a disability attorney in Pennsylvania

When should you get a disability attorney in Pennsylvania?

How can a Pennsylvania disability lawyer win a disability case?