How long does a disability claim take in Texas and can you make it go faster?
The most honest answer to this question is "nobody really knows". The Social Security office where you begin your Social Security Disability or SSI disability claim in Texas may advise you that your claim will take 90 days or 120 days but this does not imply a deadline. Unfortunately, this leads to confusion among many disability claimants who end up believing that there is a deadline for the processing of their case, when, in fact, deadlines absolutely do not exist for either the SSI program or the SSD program.
Why do personnel at the social security office give out such information? Probably because this is the best information they have access to: averages. On average, most initial claims for SSI or Social Security Disability will be determined (decided) in three to four months. However, some claims may take much longer, perhaps even as long as a year.
Why do some disability cases in Texas take longer to process than others? There are many variables involved. Some disability examiners (the individuals who gather your medical records and make decisions on claims) work faster than others while other disability examiners are slower. Also, some examiners have monstrously large caseloads and, for this reason, getting to your case may take longer as a result. Unfortunately, as a claimant, you have zero control over who will process your disability case or how long it may take.
Common questions about filing for disability in Texas
However, if you would like your disability case to go faster (or at least avoid going slower), it may be good to consider the following options:
1. Consider submitting medical records with your disability application versus submitting the application only. The wait for medical records (disability examiners request your records and then "shelve" your case" while they wait on the records) consumes a huge chunk of time in the processing of a Social Security Disability or SSI case. However, if you choose to do this, make sure you not only submit older records, but your most recent records as well. If you fail to submit your most recent records, the examiner may be forced to send off for your records regardless of what you've provided with your application.
2. Complete your disability application completely. In other words, supply information (regarding your condition, doctors, and places of treatment) that is a. correct and b. sufficiently detailed. Incomplete (or worse, inaccurate) information can cause a disability case to "sit longer" than one for which complete and accurate information has been provided.
3. Comply with requests from the Social Security office or the disability examiner who is handling your case. Meaning: if you get a letter asking you to respond with certain information, respond quickly. If you get a notice requesting your presence at a medical exam, make sure you keep the appointment. Failing to submit requested information or attend a scheduled medical examination can delay your case, and, in some cases, provide justification for a denial.
About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.
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