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How Long Does An SSDI Approval Take?

Last updated: April 12, 2023

You may find it stressful to wait for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to make a decision on whether you qualify for benefits when you have to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because you are unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. There are people who may receive a decision in 30 days, while there are others who may have to wait a year or longer before they hear back from the SSA. The average wait times vary for different groups of people due to various reasons.

How Long Does It Take To Get SSDI Decision?

Having a clear understanding of how long it will take for you to get through the different stages of a Social Security Disability claim can help you calm your nerves and help you better manage your expectations. You can get an idea of how long it may take by looking at the following:

  • Initial Application Process
    After you have applied for SSDI benefits, it will usually take the Social Security Administration three to four months for a decision to be reached. Still, this time frame might be extended to as long as eight months in some cases.
  • Reconsideration
    You will need to request reconsideration of the decision that the Social Security Administration made if they deny your request for benefits. It could take them three to four months for them to send you a decision regarding your appeal after you make your first appeal.
  • Appeal
    If you are denied a request for reconsideration, you will have to file an appeal with the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) and have your case decided by them. The time it takes to schedule your hearing and for the ALJ to make a decision on your claim may range from six months to two years.

How to Get a Decision Faster

There are a number of steps that you can take to speed up the SSA's decision-making process when you apply for Social Security benefits. You can do the following things to help make your life a little easier:

  • If you have seen multiple doctors, please note their names in your application and list them all. If the doctors have examined you, you should provide them with their contact information and the dates when they examined you.
  • Your medical records should be included in your application. There will be no need for the SSA to contact your doctors for this information, which could delay their initial decision significantly, as they may need to contact your physicians for this information.
  • If multiple doctors are treating you for your disability, you should obtain letters from each of them. The letters that you receive from them should explain your medical condition and how you are unable to work due to it.
  • You should check on the status of your application to make sure that you do not need to submit additional information to the SSA and that they are reviewing your application. It is possible to check this on Social Security's website or to speak to a representative of the SSA by calling and asking for information.

How can you make sure that your claim is processed as quickly as possible? Make sure you hire a Social Security disability attorney as soon as possible who is experienced in this area. A good disability lawyer may assist you with your disability hearing, dealing with disability examiners, submitting your application properly, providing you with all the documentation you need in order to receive an immediate decision, and, if necessary, helping you file a rejection appeal and guiding you through the appeals process as well. 

Check our our article to know about Social Security Disability Judges Approval Rates.

Applying for social security disability benefits can be an overwhelming process. If you are interested in seeking SSDI benefits, check out our article about Social Security Disability for ADHD. To learn more, visit DisabilityHelp.org today!

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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