Helping People With Disabilities Nationwide

Why Does it Take so Long to Get a Disability Decision?

by | Mar 20, 2024 | SSD - Social Security Disability |

As anyone who has dealt with Social Security can tell you, it’s not quick or easy process to get disability, and it’s only getting worse.

Last year, it took on average of 228 days to get a determination on initial application, according to the Social Security Administration. That’s almost double the time it took to get a decision 10 years ago.

For the next step of an appeal, reconsideration, it’s taking about seven months to get the next decision from SSA. And if you’re denied a second time and need to go before an administrative law judge for a hearing, that takes another seven months – or longer.

Then there’s the wait time for a judge’s decision, which can vary dramatically. Some judges can issue decisions in just a few weeks. In other cases, it can take around a year to hear anything after a hearing.

Several different factors go into these weight times. A major issue is where you apply. Some states and regions simply deal with fair more applications than others, leading to lengthy weight times.

Specific cases can also have evidentiary issues that drag things out. If you’ve seen doctors who have stopped practicing or who are slow to release your medical records, this can tie up a case for months.

However, there are some situations, such as “dire need” where if you are facing homelessness, you may be able to expedite the process. In addition, Social Security has a “compassionate allowance” list for specific conditions that can result in very quick approvals at the initial stage, so you’ll want to consult with an attorney if there may be a way get your case decided more quickly.


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