Social Security Disability Process & Timelines


Many people are overwhelmed at the thought of filing for Social Security Disability. Because you are out of work, you are probably concerned about how quickly you can get your case settled. The rumor that you will be denied the first time you file is not true. It depends solely upon your medical condition. Some conditions are fast-tracked to be approved quickly. About 60-70 percent of claims will be denied the first time, and it will take 30-90 days to get an answer once you file a claim.

Filing For A Reconsideration

The good news is that you have three opportunities to appeal the SSD board’s initial decision. The bad news is that it can take you years to get an approval. It is important to retain the services of a Social Security Disability Lawyer Phoenix to help. Having a lawyer at the beginning of the claim is imperative. There are many deadlines that must be met. For instance, if you get denied on your first application, you have 60 days to ask for a reconsideration.

If you miss this deadline, a new claim must be filed. That means that any back pay that was accumulated also reduces to zero. The reconsideration is important because your information will be reviewed by other SSA employees that had nothing to do with the initial application. Though about 87 percent of claims are still denied at this level, it is part of the process that must be completed.

Going Before A Judge

If you are denied on your reconsideration, then you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. This hearing is imperative, so it is important to have legal representation. It takes about 2-3 months after the hearing to get an answer from the court. The ALJ decision is not final; however, you can file for an Appeals Council to review your case within 60 days after the denial. The Appeals Council will do one of three things in your case. They can deny the claim instantly, send it back to be reviewed further, or review and approve the claim. It takes this council anywhere from 3-24 months to give you an answer. When the claim is still denied, then you can make your final appeal to the federal district court.

How Long Does It Really Takes To Settle A Claim?

This timeline shows just how tedious a case can become. Now, your case may be one that fits into the SSD board’s Blue Book and is approved instantly. However, the average wait time for a case to be settled is 442 days, which is one year, two and a half months. That is a long time to wait when you already have no income. The odds are better when you have legal representation. Statistics show that having an attorney can usually push through the claims process quicker. Don’t take on the SSA alone, you owe it to yourself to ensure your paperwork is perfect so there are no further delays.


Joyce Norton

The author Joyce Norton

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