After I apply for Social Security disability, how long will I wait for benefits?

calendar_pagesThe timeframe between applying for Social Security disability and receiving benefits varies from person to person. Some applicants receive a determination within a month, while others can wait a year or more before their benefits are paid. In most cases, it depends on the stage at which your claim is approved.

The Different Stages of Social Security Disability Approval

The Social Security Administration (SSA) can potentially approve disability applications at many different points in the claims process. The more steps it takes to approve your claim, the longer you'll wait for benefits.

The length of time before you receive benefits will depend on whether your application is approved:

  • The first time. It takes up to 90 days to get a decision on a new disability claim. However, many claims are denied the first time, so it's likely you'll have to proceed to a first appeal.
  • On reconsideration. If your first application is denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a request for reconsideration. Appeals generally take between 60 and 90 days to process and notify the claimant of the determination. If the appeal is denied, the next step is to request a disability hearing with an administrative law judge.
  • At a disability hearing. There's typically a backlog of cases waiting to be heard by a judge, so it can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to schedule a disability hearing. However, disability applications are more likely to be approved at a hearing than at any other level of the process.
  • For a terminal condition. Claimants who apply for benefits based on a terminal condition or a class of severe disabilities may receive expedited benefits through the Compassionate Allowance Program and quick disability determination programs.

There are many things claimants can do to speed up their cases and increase their chances of approval. Providing complete and convincing medical information and filing for disability as soon as you're unable to work can both increase approval rates, as can hiring a Social Security disability attorney to present your case.

Simply fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our Social Security attorneys at no cost to you.