Social Security Disability Determination Timeline


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How Long Does It Take For Expedited Claims

The harsh reality of the Social Security Disability Benefits Timeline

The SSA has two general criteria for pushing an application through faster. The first is that the disability is classified as terminal. Terminal means that it will significantly shorten a persons life. An example of a terminal disability may be cancer.

The second criteria for being fast-tracked is that the condition is on the Compassionate Allowance List . People with a condition on CAL always meet the SSAs definition of disabled and are often approved. If youre eligible for an expedited claim, you may be approved as little as 30 days.

Guiding You Through The Social Security Disability Application Process Richmond Va Disability Lawyer Corey Pollard

No matter what step youre at in the SSD application process, Corey Pollard is here to help.

You have a lot to gain with your SSDI claim in Virginia. Last year the average monthly benefit for a SSDI recipient was more than $1,100.00 per month. Your monthly benefit amount is determined by your past earnings. The more you made in the past the higher your monthly SSDI benefit.

Contact Corey Pollard now for help getting your Social Security Disability application approved.

Inside The Social Security Disability Claim Review Approval Process

Getting the SSA to approve your SSD benefits claim is a lengthy process full of questions. What goes on behind the scenes during the Social Security disability claims approval process? How many people handle one application? How does the agency investigate a persons work history and confirm his or her medical condition? These are common questions many who are thinking about applying for SSD benefits ask themselves and their attorneys. Most people dont have an inside look at the claims approval process and may not realize a lot of work goes into examining each application.

The SSA has revised its disability approval process numerous times to make it more efficient and user-friendly to ensure all eligible applicants receive their needed payments. Understanding the internal process can help applicants gain a better picture of the SSD application timeline. Here are the basics of the process:

1. Application Handed Over to the State Disability Agency and a Disability Examiner

According to Tim Moore, a former disability examiner for the SSA, the first step in the long claims approval process is to send your Social Security disability benefits application to a state disability agency, which is also called Disability Determination Services .

2. Examiner Contacts Medical Personnel and Past Employers

3. Specialist May Ask You to Complete Daily Living Questionnaire

4. Examiner Makes Initial Claim Determination

5. Application Goes to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review

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Can You Do Any Other Type Of Work

If we decide you cannot do the work you did before, we consider your remaining ability to do other work considering your age, education and work experience. We assess these factors with your capacityto work to determine if you can be expected to adjust to other work that existsin the national economy.

We consider how many years of school you have completed and whether you have completed any type of special job training, trade or vocational school when we assess your ability to adjust to other work. However, absence of formal education does not necessarily mean you are uneducated or limited in your ability to adjust to work. We will consider strong evidence that your educational achievement is higher or lower than the last grade you completed.

We generally consider illiteracy and inability to communicate in English as an educational factor that limits an individuals ability to adjust to other work.

We consider your chronological age in combination with your residual functional capacity, education, and work experience. We will not consider your ability to adjust to other work on the basis of your age alone. In determining the extent to which age affects your ability to adjust to other work, we consider advancing age to be an increasingly limiting factor in your ability to make an adjustment to other work.

Information We Need About Your Work And Education

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To decide whether you are disabled, we use a five-step process. Listed below are frequently asked questions about Step 4 and Step 5 of the process.

We need to find out about your past work to decide if you can still do it. To make this decision, we need to know how you did your job. We also need to know if you learned skills on your job.

We need this information to see if you can do any of your past work. Remember that you are not disabled according to our rules unless your illnesses, injuries or conditions prevent you from doing your past work or adjusting to other work.

Information about your education and training are also very important to us. If you cannot do your past work, we look at your age, education, training, and work experience to see if you can do other kinds of work.

Disclaimer: The following is general information only. The Social Security Act and related regulations, rulings and case law should be used or cited as authority for the Social Security disability programs.

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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 .

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.

Should I Hire A Disability Lawyer To Help Me Navigate The Process

While the application timeline for SSDI benefits is essentially the same throughout the US, each state may have small variations to the process. Hiring a qualified Disability Attorney will ensure that you are following each step, as well as avoiding missing any critical deadlines.

An experienced Social Security lawyer can help you understand the process and perhaps offer useful suggestions while you wait for your disability benefits to be approved. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation form on this page to be connected with an experienced disability attorney.

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You May Qualify For Legal Assistance

The last thing you want if youve recently become disabled is for this process to take two years or longer, so its a good idea to speak with an experienced Social Security disability advocate or attorney before you start the application process. Not only will they be able to help you prepare, but they also know what to do in the event that your application gets denied during the first round. The faster the SSA reviews and approves your claim, the faster youll receive the benefits you need.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

State Operations That Review Claims Face Massive Backlogs Leaving Disabled Americans Waiting Months And Even Years For Judgments

What Is Disability Determination Services and What Do They Do?

The Disability Determination Division in Austin was at a breaking point.

Inside its vast two-story warehouse, close to 130,000 claims were awaiting review by the state employees who help decide whether Texans will get disability benefits from the Social Security Administration a backlog that would take at least a year to clear. Nearly 40 percent of the examiners had quit since January, driven out by crushing workloads and low wages that could not compete in the high-tech boomtown.Those who stayed toiled in long rows of cubicles or at home reviewing massive medical files.

I wanted to help people, recalled Shayla Williams, who worked in the office for two years until she quit in February. But I was miserable. Im getting paid $17.50 an hour to play doctor all day. It was not worth it.

The avalanche of new cases was one more reminder that the forgotten bureaucracy in the Texas state government off Interstate 35 had broken down, a failure that has left thousands of poor, disabled and increasingly desperate people without the benefits they need to survive, according to advocates and claimants.

The samesystem has collapsed in many of the other state offices where Social Security has outsourced reviews of disability claims a decentralized, convoluted structure Congress created nearly seven decades ago to let low-paid state employees rule on who should get federal benefits.

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Other Payments May Affect Your Disability Benefits

If you receive certain other government benefits, such as workers’ compensation, public disability benefits, or pensions based on work not covered by Social Security , the Social Security benefits payable to you and your family may be reduced.

For more information about how these benefits can affect your Social Security payments, please refer to the following publications:

How To Start The Disability Claim Process

How to Start the Social Security Disability Claim Process The first step in the disability process is actually filing a disability application with the Social Security Administration. Once of the fastest and easiest ways of filing a disability application if you have worked five out of the last ten years is to do it online by visiting the link here. You may also call the National Social Security hotline at 1-800-772-1213 and tell them that you would like to file a disability application. If you are unable to work due to a physical or mental condition we encourage you to file a disability application as soon as possible. Also, we would be more than happy to help you file the application and be there for you during every step in the disability claims process. Contact Disability Attorney Brian Carmichael at 334-737-6311 and let him help you WIN your disability claim!Learn More

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Cutting Through The Backlog

Wait times differ across the country, but you should expect to wait at least six months. According to the SSA, the shortest wait times as of January 2022 are in:

  • Akron, OH: 5 months
  • Evansville, IN: 5 months
  • Columbia, SC: 5 months
  • Peoria, IL: 6 months
  • Minneapolis, MN: 6 months

In certain parts of the US, wait times can be as high as a year or more. Fresno, California, for example, has a current claim-processing time of 524 days. For many people, waiting more than a year to have their application heard can be devastating. In an interview with WIVB, Ohio resident Kathy Nobilio said she was lucky her bank understood that she had been waiting for more than a year for payments.

is just sitting there nothing has been done, Nobilio told the news source. Im afraid Im going to lose my house. The bank has been very patient.

Some people may think they could receive benefits faster if they apply for Supplemental Security Income , but the Ohio Bar says the laws governing who medically qualify are the same for both programs. According to the Federal Times, the issue may worsen as the number of SSA employees continues to decline.

Given the expectation of leaner future budgets, SSA needs to plan to meet its mission with fewer resources, the Office of the Inspector General said, according to the Fiscal Times.

The Disability Determination Process

Social Security Disability: Third Party Request &  Function Report ...

The Social Security Administration requires each state to process its own disability applications, with some exceptions. West Virginia residents’ disability applications generally will be processed in West Virginia. Each state processes claims independently, and all must follow the same rules and regulations set forth by Congress.

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What Is The Timeframe For The Entire Disability Process

As noted above, every case is different. Individuals with severe, life-limiting illnesses may be approved for benefits in a few weeks. Those people who meet a Blue Book listing for a condition may be approved with a couple of months. However, the vast majority of disabled applicants will wait anywhere from 3 months to over two years for a final disability determination.

Your Claim Goes To Disability Determination Services For Review

Most SSD applicants wait 3-5 months before hearing a decision on their claim. If you have a terminal illness or condition on the Compassionate Allowances List , your review time is much faster. In 2016, the SSA reviewed CAL list and Quick Disability Determination claims in 18.5 days, on average. If the examiner canât make a decision with available medical records, you must undergo a consultative exam instead. If this happens, it can add 1-2 months to your SSD claimâs review time.

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Social Security Disability: Information On Wait Times Bankruptcies And Deaths Among Applicants Who Appealed Benefit Denials


Individuals who apply for and are denied Social Security Administration disability benefits can appeal the decision. Most applicants who appeal wait more than a year to receive a final disability benefits determination.

We found that:

about 48,000 individuals, or 1.3% of applicants, filed for bankruptcy while awaiting a final decision about their disability appeals from FYs 2014 through 2019

109,725 individuals, or 1.2% of applicants, died prior to receiving a final decision about their appeal from FYs 2008 through 2019

Why There Is Such A Long Wait For Social Security Disability Benefits


While there may be ways to speed up the approval process, waiting for SSD benefits can take months and even longer if you are appealing a denial. For some, not receiving Social Security disability payments can mean not paying bills or receiving needed medical care. Why does it take so long to receive Social Security disability benefits? Simply put, there are more applications than the SSA can handle.

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How Long Does It Take For General Claims That Dont Qualify For Fast

First-time applicants may win approval in 3-5 months, on average. In December 2020, the SSA approved a little more than 1 in 5 first-time applicants. Most claimants have to appeal their initial denials, especially if they dont have a lawyer handling their cases.

Appealed disability claims have four steps before you should attempt to reapply for benefits. The SSA may approve your claim at any point in this process:

  • Reconsideration
  • A hearing with an Administrative Law Judge
  • An appeals council review
  • The amount of time it takes for you to win approval depends on which level of appeal your claim must go through. For example, some applicants who have their claim approved after reconsideration may be approved within six months. Applicants who take their claim to the appeals council for review may experience a wait time of two years. Appealing to a Federal court may take more than a year after the appeals council.

    One: The Application Stage

    When you recognize that your disability is preventing you from working, the first thing you must do is apply for Social Security Disability benefits. This requires an extensive application process that describes what is preventing you from working, your medical treatment, and sometimes information about your finances or work history. We recommend seeking out an attorney to help you with this challenging step. Many attorneys will turn you away at the application stage, telling you to come back when you have a denial. Our office is unique in that we take the burden away from you at this stage we go through the applications with you step by step and answer any questions you may have as this can be confusing and difficult.

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    Additional Programs And Information:

    Disability Decisions

    A team comprising a staff physician or clinical psychologist and a professionally trained analyst makes the disability decision. Applications for Social Security disability benefits may be completed online at Apply for Benefits. The public may also call SSAs toll-free number, 772-1213, to schedule an appointment in person or by phone. Find the most conveniently located Social Security office at the Social Security Office Locator. To apply for Medicaid, visit Virginia’s Medical Assistance Programs.

    Fraud Prevention

    The Virginia DDS works in conjunction with SSAs Office of the Inspector General through a Cooperative Disability Investigations unit to prevent fraud in the disability program. The CDI program was established in 1998 to effectively pool resources and expertise to prevent fraud in SSAs disability programs. The CDI programs primary mission is to obtain evidence that can resolve questions of fraud before benefits are ever paid. Reports from CDI Units can also be used to cease benefits of in-payment beneficiaries during the continuing disability review process. For more information about CDI, OIG, or to report fraud, waste, or abuse, visit or contact Brett Fielding at the number listed below.

    SOAR in Virginia

    School Evidence

    For more information about the disability process, visit Childhood Disability for School Professionals. More information is also available from the Social Security Administration’s Benefits Planner.

    Why Gao Did This Study

    How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Approval Letter

    The Social Security Administration manages two large disability benefit programsâDisability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income . As of December 2019, these programs provided benefits to approximately 12.3 million adults living with disabilities and their eligible dependents. A disability applicant who is dissatisfied with SSA’s initial disability determination can appeal the decision to multiple escalating levels of review. From fiscal years 2008 through 2019, SSA received approximately 9 million appeals of initial DI or SSI decisions. GAO has previously reported that applicants who appeal a benefits denial can potentially wait years to receive a final decision, during which time an applicant’s health or financial situation could deteriorate.

    Given the heightened risk of worsening medical and financial conditions for disability applicants, GAO was asked to examine the incidence of such events while applicants await a final decision on their disability claim. This report examines the status of disability applicants while they awaited a final benefits decision including 1) their total wait times across all levels of disability appeals within SSA, 2) their incidence of bankruptcy, and 3) their incidence of death. For wait times, bankruptcies, and deaths, GAO also examined variations across certain demographic characteristics of applicants.

    For more information, contact Elizabeth Curda at 512-7215 or .

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