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How long does it take to collect social security disability?

FAQs | July 27, 2016

The time for an SSDI/SSI claim to be approved or denied can vary drastically. There are many stages to the claim process; initial claim, reconsideration, and hearing. Each stage can take a different amount of time. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that you will be approved on your first claim.

Average decision waits at each level:

  1. Initial Claim: The initial claim decision often comes between 30 and 90 days from when you file. Roughly 65-70% of all initial claims are denied. This percentage decreases substantially if you have third-party representation (that’s us.) If your initial claim is denied, then you can appeal your denial by filing a request for reconsideration appeal.
  2. Reconsideration Appeal: The reconsideration appeal can take sixty days more days before receiving a decision. If the reconsideration appeal is denied, you may then appeal your denial by filing a request for an administrative law judge disability hearing.
  3. Disability Hearing: The disability process can easily be the longest and most emotionally trying part of the process. Most disability hearing offices have large backlogs. Many disability applicants must wait twelve months or more to get a hearing scheduled. While this can be frustrating and cause financial hardship, this level of the disability appeal process offers you your best chance of being approved. The national disability hearing approval rate is about 65% and about 10% of cases are dismissed rather than denied. The denial rate for disability hearings is about 25%, which is the lowest denial rate of any level of the Social Security disability process.

Getting Faster Decision on Disability Claims

There are situations in which an applicants claim will bypass the normal procedures. Here are three:

  1. TERI Process & Terminal Illness: If a disability applicant has a terminal condition, then his or her disability claim is expedited through the TERI process. TERI designated disability cases are generally processed in less than thirty days.
  2. Quick Disability Determination (QDD): The SSA’s electronic application process analyzes elements of the disability claim. If it determines that a claim will most likely result in an approval for disability benefits due to a number of possible extreme conditions, then it may be designated as a quick disability determination (QDD). Once a disability claim is designated as a QDD claim, it is on track for a quick disability decision.
  3. Compassionate Allowances Processes: If during the application process the SSA determines that the claim has factors that always meet the qualifications or criteria of the impairment listings (contained in the Social Security disability list of impairments commonly referred to as the Blue Book), then it becomes part of the compassionate allowences process. There are one hundred and thirteen compassionate allowance conditions at the time of writing this. More will likely be added to the list in the years to come.

Remember, we can help expedite this process. We don’t charge fees unless we secure your benefits. There is no reason to hesitate. Contact us today.

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Client Testimonials

"Tanina is fantastic! She diligently worked on my case. She actually cared about what she was doing and I felt like I had someone in my corner. She was attentive to details and went back to cover every single detail of my case."

Charles S. - Wilmington, NC

"Tanina was a great person to work with. When she said she was going to do something… she really did it!"

Amy B. - Wilmington, NC

"She is a great lawyer who works above and beyond. She was very understanding and loyal."

Amanda B. - Leland, NC

"When I first went to meet Tanina, there was no time limit and she let me know that. I was able to talk to her about my case for a long time. When I was hospitalized, Tanina kept working on my case with my family. The same month that I was denied for benefits, Tanina helped me get accepted. For the first time this week, I walked with my new prosthetic leg!"

Vicky D. - Wilmington, NC

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