How Long Should It Take to Know If You’re Approved for SSDI?
As SSDI attorneys, one of the most common questions we get is, “How long should it take to know if I’m approved for SSDI?”
It’s an understandable question: you’ll want to know what to expect from the SSDI process, and you almost certainly want to get benefits as soon as possible.
Today, we’re sharing how long it takes to get SSDI, how the process works, and what you can do to speed up the process.
How Long Does It Take to Get Approved?
Social Security Disability is a type of insurance covering workers who become temporarily or permanently disabled. In order to qualify, you must meet certain medical and work requirements. The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews applications for SSDI benefits and comes to a decision.
According to the SSA, it generally takes about 3-5 months to reach a decision. However, that’s not a guarantee. How quickly you can get approved for SSDI depends on a few factors, like the severity of your condition, how quickly the SSA receives evidence needed for your claim, and whether you need to appeal.
Depending on your unique circumstances, your SSDI claim may take more or less time to approve.
For workers with extremely severe conditions, the SSA fast-tracks their application to get them benefits as soon as possible. This is called the “Compassionate Allowances” program.
The SSA has a list of conditions so severe that they automatically qualify you for benefits. There are dozens of conditions on this list—primarily cancers, adult brain disorders, and rare children’s cancers. Diagnosis of one of these conditions is generally enough to qualify.
If your condition is on the list, your claim will be processed faster. On average, the time to approval is 19 days for a Compassionate Allowances claim. For the SSA, that’s fast!
Appealing a Denial
Workers whose initial SSDI claim is denied have the right to appeal the SSA’s decision. Unfortunately, that means the wait time for approval is much longer.
The SSA has a backlog of appeals cases waiting to be heard. The backlog is more than 500 days long—more than a year to wait. (That’s why it’s so important to do everything possible to ensure your claim is approved the first time!)
How Does the SSDI Process Work?
The SSDI claims process starts with you notifying the SSA of your intent to file a claim.
After this, you file your claim with your local SSA field office. The SSA takes the information, documentation, and evidence you included in your claim under review. First, the office confirms information like your age, work history, and Social Security coverage. Then, they send your medical documentation to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS is responsible for reviewing your medical history and determining if you qualify as disabled. If the medical evidence from your providers isn’t enough, the DDS might arrange for an additional medical exam.
Your claim is then approved or denied.
If your claim is approved, the SSA calculates the benefits you’ll receive and begins payments. You’ll receive benefits for as long as you have a disability, with the SSA occasionally reviewing your case to see if you’ve improved. Depending on whether or not you are expected to approve, the SSA may wait 6 months to several years to review your case. If you are ever able to return to work, the SSA stops your benefits.
If your claim is denied, you have the right to request a reconsideration. If that is denied, you have a right to appeal to an Administrative Law judge, then the Appeals Council. If you are still denied, you may file a civil suit at the federal court level.
How Can You Speed Up the SSDI Process?
Is there anything you can do to speed up the SSDI process? In fact, there is!
There are a few things we recommend to make the SSDI process go faster and more smoothly.
Don’t Wait to Start the Process
The Social Security Administration website tells you to file ASAP, even if you don’t have everything in your claim ready. That’s because the claims process takes time. What’s more, notifying the SSA of your intent to file establishes a “protective filing date.” (This is a date that matters for determining your eligibility and back pay you may receive.)
According to the SSA, you can cut your interview time in half by starting the process online. You can go to www.socialsecurity.gov/applyfordisability to complete the application for benefits. You can also speed things up by bringing all required information to your office appointment with the SSA. When you’re ready with all the information the SSA needs, you cut out the time it would take for the SSA to track that info down themselves.
Check on Your Claim Regularly
It’s important to check in on the status of your claim. For example, you’ll want to know if the SSA didn’t get a document you mailed them or if your doctor hasn’t sent them your medical records. You don’t want the SSA to deny your claim because it was incomplete. (You can appeal, of course, but as we mentioned above, that increases your wait time significantly!)
Get the Help of an Experienced Attorney
The SSDI claims process can be complex and confusing, and many first-time applicants are denied for preventable reasons. (Think paperwork mistakes, missing documentation, etc.)
Having the help of an experienced SSDI attorney can often be the difference between getting your claim approved and your benefits received ASAP, and waiting months or years to see a dime. A qualified attorney can help you ensure that your application is correct and that all evidence needed has been sent to the SSA. They’ll handle all the details, so you don’t have to worry about it.
It’s worth the peace of mind!
Call Casper & Casper Today
At Casper & Casper, we have attorneys dedicated to Social Security Disability. Our attorneys have decades of experience to put to work for you—improving your chances of quicker SSDI approval!
If you need help with your SSDI claim, you can trust Casper & Casper. Call us today to schedule your free consultation! We’ll let you know how we can help.