How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision on My Social Security Disability?
If you’re unable to work, you’ll obviously want to get Social Security disability benefits as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the SSDI application and appeals processes are not quick. So, it’s important to have realistic expectations going in.
The SSDI Application and Appeals Timeline
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), it typically takes three to six months to get a decision on your initial application. You may be able to speed the process up somewhat by applying online. You can also help avoid delays by making sure that your application is complete and you provide all necessary documentation. Still, you can expect to wait at least a few months to get a decision, and in some cases it may take more than six months.
If you apply for Social Security benefits right away when you become disabled, the time that you’re waiting for a decision may substantially overlap with the mandatory waiting period to receive benefits. That means you could cut down the time between becoming disabled and receiving disability benefits if you apply promptly.
Reconsideration of Your Social Security Disability Denial
If your initial application is denied–and most are–the next step is to request reconsideration. You have 60 days to make the request, and then can typically expect to wait several weeks for a decision.
Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
If your claim is denied on reconsideration, you’ll have 60 days to request a hearing before an ALJ. Then, you’ll wait a minimum of several months for your hearing date. In March of 2023, the shortest average wait time was eight months. In some areas of the country, the average time between requesting a hearing and the hearing date was two years or more. After the hearing, you can expect to wait a few months longer for a decision.
Appeals Council Review
If your claim for disability benefits is still denied by the ALJ, you have one last chance in the administrative process–requesting Appeals Council review. However, the Appeals Council has discretion to take up a case or not, and most requests are denied. If the Appeals Council does consider your SSDI claim, you may wait anywhere from a few months to two years or more for a ruling.
Time for Social Security Disability Approval
As you can see, the amount of time it takes to receive a final decision on your social security disability from the SSA varies significantly. The most significant factor is how far you have to go in the process. If you file right away and your initial application is approved, you could be receiving benefits as soon as the sixth month after you become disabled. If you have to go through the entire appeals process, you will typically be waiting for a couple of years, and perhaps four years or more.
That means it’s critical that you submit the strongest application possible. And, if you’re denied, you’ll want to take full advantage of the opportunity to present additional information with your request for reconsideration.
Disability Help Group was founded by experienced disability experts who have been representing the disabled for over 15 years. Our team understands how to work with the Social Security Administration in the best interest of the disabled person.
Disability claims often require time and patience from the claimant, which can be tough to deal with when a person’s finances are in question. We have representatives across the country to ensure that your rights are being protected and the disability process is being properly followed. To learn more, call (800) 800-3332 right now, or contact us here.