Most Social Security Disability applicants are unable to work, which means they need benefits as soon as possible. That is why applicants want to know how long the process is likely to take.
While there is no way to know precisely how long it will take to receive a decision about an initial application or appeal, you can get a general idea about how long it may take.
Hiring an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer in Oshkosh may often help to speed up the application process. Our lawyers have extensive experience handling these types of claims and have secured benefits for many people with disabilities. We are ready to help you, and there are no upfront costs with our services.
Give us a call today to learn more: (877) 888-5201.
When Should I Expect an Initial Decision About My Application?
Generally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides to approve or deny an application for disability benefits within three to six months of the date you applied. Sometimes, it may take as long as seven or eight months or even 12-14 months to receive a decision about an initial application.
There are many factors that determine how long it takes the SSA to approve or deny your application for benefits, including:
- Your disability
- How long it takes your doctors/health care providers to produce your medical records
- Whether the SSA requests a medical examination
Wait Times in Early 2023 Were the Longest in 14 Years
The average wait time for new applicants increased to more than seven months in April 2023. This is the longest average wait time in 14 years.
The main reason for the increased wait time was the COVID-19 pandemic. The average wait time went up 83 percent between April 2019 and April 2023.
Disability Determination Services offices temporarily closed in March 2020. This closure contributed to a backlog of applications that needed to be reviewed. By April 2023, the backlog consisted of 1.04 million applications.
How Long Does It Take To Receive a Decision About an Initial Appeal?
It is distressing to find out you need to wait months for a decision, especially when you find out most applications will be denied.
If the SSA denies your application, you can file a request for reconsideration. Unfortunately, it is likely to take another few months to receive a decision about your reconsideration request. It could even take 12-14 months to receive a decision about a request for reconsideration.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Decision From an Administrative Law Judge?
If your request for reconsideration is unsuccessful, your next option is to file an appeal so your case can be heard by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). It might take anywhere from six months to two years for this process to reach a conclusion. Once the hearing concludes, it may take several weeks for the judge to decide about your appeal.
Reasons Why It May Take Longer to Get a Decision
There are various reasons why some applications take longer to process than others. For example, if the SSA needs more medical evidence than you provided with your application, the process is likely to take longer. The SSA may request that you meet with a doctor of their choosing for an evaluation. It may take a while to get an appointment, which further delays the resolution of the process.
Another important factor in the amount of time it takes to get approved is where you live. Some applicants may be able to schedule a hearing with an ALJ more quickly than people who live in other parts of the country.
Is There Anything I Can Do To Speed Up the Process?
If you want to improve your chances of receiving a decision quickly, you need to hire an experienced attorney to help you put your application together. For example, an experienced lawyer can help ensure your application is completed without errors or missing documents, such as:
- Medical records, ensuring the SSA does not need to waste time contacting your doctors to obtain more information
- Letters from your treating doctors that describe your medical condition and why it keeps you from working
- Contact information for your treating doctors and the dates of your treatment
Your lawyer can also check on your application to find out if the SSA needs anything else to make their decision. Our lawyers have been through this process many times and we know how to do these things efficiently. Our goal is to obtain benefits as quickly as possible.
Another important step an attorney can take is to make sure you are applying for the correct program. If you have been working for many years, you need to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance. If you have little work history and limited income and assets, you should apply for Supplemental Security Income.
When Will You Start Receiving Benefits?
If your initial application for benefits is approved, you should receive benefits within five months. Your first check should come six months from the date your disability began.
Do You Need Disability Benefits? Call Sigman Janssen For Assistance
We have been assisting disability applicants for decades, helping many obtain the benefits they needed. Our services come with no upfront costs, and the initial legal consultation is free of charge.
Contact us to learn how we may be able to help.
Call (877) 888-5201.