SSD Benefits Approval: How Long You’ll Wait for the Decision Writers

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Approval Process

You may have heard that it takes a long time to find out if you will receive Social Security Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Specifically, how long do decision writers take to make a decision?

In 2020, the average wait time to be approved for disability benefits was around 15 months. However, working with Disability Apply can help shorten that timeline. Every claim is different, and Disability Apply has the experience to ensure that you have everything necessary to speed up the process.

Need to speak with a representative about your case? Know someone who needs help applying for disability benefits? Contact us today to get started.

What Causes the Decision to Take So Long?

There are many variables that affect how long you have to wait for a decision and then how long you have to wait for benefits to be approved before you start receiving disability payments.

For example, one person might take 1-3 years to complete the entire process, while another person could only take a few months. The factors that impact how long it takes to receive approval include:

  • Having a critical condition.
  • Being able to prove the critical nature of the condition.
  • Medical history and the completeness of information provided.
  • Whether you are required to go through the disability appeal process.

Hiring a disability advocate such as Disability Apply can increase your chances of getting benefits, help avoid delays, and ultimately speed up the process. Our experienced representatives have helped thousands of applicants prepare strong disability claims and represented individuals just like you in the appeals process.

We understand how important these disability payments are to you. Our experts are ready to help you. There is no upfront cost. Contact us today for assistance!

What About Expedited Disability?

The initial disability decision, on average, will generally take about 3 to 5 months. However, there are programs that enable certain claimants with serious disabilities to expedite their application.

The SSA will speed up the approval process if an applicant has a terminal condition or their condition is listed on the Compassionate Allowance List (CAL). If your medical condition is dire, you may qualify for expedited approval, and your claim could be approved in less than a month.

If you or a loved one has a dire condition, please contact Disability Apply right away for assistance. You can complete this free evaluation form so that a member of our team can help ensure that your application is completed correctly and that you have all of the medical documentation necessary for your claim.

The Disability Appeal Process And Reconsideration

If you or a loved one does not have a terminal condition that qualifies for CAL, you will need to go through the standard application process. During this process, many applicants are initially denied benefits because the SSA does not believe that the applicant’s medical condition is severe enough to prevent them from working — based on the submitted documentation. If you disagree with the determination, you may appeal the decision.

There are four levels of appeal, and each level requires a different amount of time to deliver a decision. The levels of appeal include:

  • Reconsideration
  • Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing
  • Appeals Council Review
  • Federal Court Review

If your initial application was denied, you could file for reconsideration yourself. It usually takes three to six months for a Reconsideration to be processed, but it can sometimes take more. If the reconsideration decision is unfavorable, you may ask for a hearing.

How Long Does It Take To Receive A Decision From A Hearing?

We do not recommend navigating the appeal process on your own. Applicants who decide to go through the process on their own are likely to continue being denied compared to applicants who have help from a qualified representative.

Generally, applicants must wait between one to two years to receive a hearing date. About 75 days before the hearing, the SSA will inform you of the hearing date, location, and the specific issues to be discussed.

Disability Apply can file an appeal on your behalf, submit the required forms, and represent you at the hearing. After the hearing, it might take one to three months to be notified of the judge’s decision. If you disagree with the hearing decision, you can ask for a review from the Social Security Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council And Federal Review

The Appeals Council will only review a case based on new additional evidence related to the period on or before the hearing decision, and only if there’s a chance the evidence could alter the outcome of the decision. The Appeals Council can:

  • Approve your benefits claim
  • Deny your claim
  • Send your claim back to an ALJ

It takes about 18 to 24 months to receive a decision from the Appeals Council. The length of time to receive a decision depends on the number of cases to review, how many decision-makers are available, the amount of evidence, and the difficulty of the case.

If the Appeals Council’s decision is not favorable or if they decided not to review your case, you can take your appeal to the federal courts. The Court will then review the decision and evidence on-file.

The federal court’s decision could take eight months to over a year due to the extremely high number of cases they receive each day.

Get Approved for Benefits Faster With Disability Apply

Ultimately, how long decision writers take can vary from case to case. In some cases, it may take a few months, while in other cases, you may have to wait years to get a final decision on your application for SSD benefits.

However, with our help, you may be able to reduce some of the delays and greatly increase your chances of approval during the appeals process. Also, keep in mind that once you receive approval, you will likely be entitled to benefits back pay.

We urge you to speak with an experienced disability representative about your claim. Contact us today or complete this form for a free consultation. We are here to help!

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

    1. Do you expect to be out of work for at least 12 months?

    2. Did you earn taxable income for 5 of the last 10 years?

    3. Are you currently receiving disability benefits?

    4. Have you seen a doctor within the last 12 months?

    5. Are you currently working with a disability advocate?

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