Timeline: How Long It Takes to Process Your Disability Application

by | Aug 22, 2023 | SSD Approval Process

Alright, you submitted your application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits (hopefully with the help of Disability Apply). Now you may be waiting to find out how long to process the Social Security Disability application. The answer is: it depends!

The length of the SSD benefits application process depends on a variety of factors such as the severity of your disability, the stage of the application, and even where you live. Our best advice is to be patient. It also helps to prepare yourself by understanding the application determination processes, which we’ve outlined below.

*If you have applied for SSD one or more times on your own and are having difficulty getting approved, you are are probably understandably frustrated. Our disability specialists are standing by and would like to talk to you about your case. Contact us today to get started.

Timeline of Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Initial Application

The Social Security Disability process begins once the Social Security Administration (SSA) receives the application at a local SSA field office.

The, the local SSA office reviews the application to ensure the basic requirements for disability benefits are met. If the non-medical requirements are not met, the claim may be turned down as a technical denial.

If the requirements are met, the application is sent to the state Disability Determination Services (DDS) office, where a decision is made utilizing federal laws, regulations, and procedures. The SSA also reviews this decision prior to the final determination.

Once these actions are completed, field offices either make the payment for allowances or issue notices for denials.

Generally, the processing of the initial application takes anywhere from 3-5 months to complete. In special cases, such as applicants with life-limiting illness, the SSA may utilize the compassionate allowance to fast track approval in a few weeks.

Appeals Process

Even if your initial application is denied, you have the ability to challenge this decision through the appeals process.

It is crucial to have a representative working with you during this stage of your application process. Why?

  • A representative will ensure there are no minor issues in your application that could lead to a denial.
  • A representative will ensure that you meet each deadline during the appeals process.

Request for Reconsideration

If your initial application was denied, then you will have 60 days from the date listed on your denial letter to file a request for reconsideration. This will follow a similar path as the initial claims process, but this time a different DDS examiner will review your case.

Overall, the reconsideration stage will take about 3-5 months before a determination is made.

By the end of this stage, it is not unusual to be 6-8 months into the entire process.

An Administrative Law Judge

If your request for reconsideration still results in a denied determination, then you will have 60 days from the date listed on your letter to file an appeals hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

This step of the process can take anywhere from 10 months to two years to receive a hearing date.

While we recognize that this is an excessive amount of time to wait, approximately 50 percent of disability cases are approved at the hearing level. Plus your chances of approval improve by about 75 percent when you utilize a representative.

Appeals Council

If your application is denied at the Administrative Law Judge level, you will have 60 days to request an Appeals Council review.

Federal District Court

If you disagree with the decision made by the Appeals Council, you will have 60 days to file an appeal with the Federal District Court.

Contact Us for Support with the Disability Application Process

In summary, it is impossible to determine exactly how long it will take for the SSA to process your Social Security Disability benefits claim, as each case is different. What we do know is that your chances of being approved significantly increase when working with a representative to guide you through the process!

Our qualified team will work with you throughout the process to ensure that you complete each stop properly and that you meet all deadlines. Trust our experienced team to increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits.

Contact us today with any questions you may have. Or, refer another person to Disability Apply to begin the application process today!

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?

    Please be aware that SSDI and Unemployment are different. This information is for SSDI and NOT Unemployment.

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    Contact Us Via Email

    One or more of your responses indicate that you may not qualify for benefits. Please email us at info@disability-apply.com for further assistance.

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    GREAT. Your answers indicate that you're a good candidate for disability benefits! We'll need to get in touch with you to complete your official application, so please fill out the contact information below. ALL FIELDS ARE REQUIRED:

    Please be aware that SSDI and Unemployment are different. This information is for SSDI and NOT Unemployment.

    Accurate information is required for a free evaluation. Your data is secure and will be transmitted by SSL encryption.

    By submitting your request, you expressly consent Disability Apply or their third party partners to contact you by phone, text messaging, automated technology and/or email using the phone number or email address that you provided so we may assist you with your request for a free case evaluation. These partners may use an automatic telephone dialing system even if the number provided is a wireless line. Being contacted is not a condition or acceptance of services of any kind.

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