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How Long Will I Have to Wait for a Decision on My Disability Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits, the wait to receive a decision on your application can feel like an eternity. After all, Social Security provides critical financial support for disabled individuals who are likely struggling to meet ends meet. When you are in this kind of position, any wait time can easily feel like too much of a wait time. As soon as you submit your Social Security disability benefits application, you will likely be wondering how long you will have to wait for a decision on your application. Here, we’ll discuss some important information relating to what you can expect as far as wait times on hearing back on your disability benefits application.

How Long Will I Have to Wait for a Decision on My Disability Benefits Application?

The unpopular, but most accurate answer to this question is: it depends. Generally speaking, however, a ballpark estimate on how long you will have to wait for a decision on your disability benefits application is that it will usually take around 3 to 5 months to get a decision. The exact wait time can largely vary based on a number of factors.

One factor that has a significant impact on how long it will take for you to receive a decision on your application is the nature of your disability. There is a wide variety of disabilities that can lead to someone filing for disability benefits. Some are explicitly listed in the Social Security Administration’s book of impairments. Others may be qualifying disabilities but are not listed. The nature of your disability can have a big impact on your application wait time.

Another primary cause of extended wait times on processing an application for disability benefits is how long it takes for the SSA to get medical evidence from an applicant’s doctor and other treating medical facilities and professionals. Medical evidence acts as the foundation for a disability benefits claim and it is needed before the application can be effectively processed. If you are planning to apply for disability benefits, bring this to the attention of all of your treating medical professionals. Let them know that they should expect a records request and to please send out those records as quickly as possible.

Your wait time can also be extended if the SSA decides it is necessary to send you for a medical examination. Additionally, sometimes the SSA will decide to review an application for quality purposes. This can also cause an increase in wait times for an application decision to be generated.

If you are looking for ways to prevent an extended wait time, there are a few things you can do. You can make sure your application is completed totally and accurately. You can talk to your doctor about promptly responding to impending records requests. You may also want to consider applying for disabilities online using the SSA online application. This will allow you to start your application right away, without needing to wait for an appointment at your local Social Security office. You can apply right from your home or on any computer.

Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney

For assistance in helping to ensure your disability benefits application is properly completed and sent out in a timely manner, you can count on the team at Disability Advocates for assistance. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.