How Long Does It Take to Get Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?

by Feb 22, 2018Disability Benefits

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If you have a diagnosis of a qualifying medical condition that prevents you from working, you might be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

The SSA offers two programs. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) assists people who have had steady employment but can no longer work due to a disability. The other program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is for those with low incomes and low assets. A good disability attorney can evaluate your medical condition, work history, and financial history to help you determine which program you are eligible for.

But once you file your application, how long does it take to get Social Security disability or SSI benefits? Unfortunately, the approval process is slow. You can expect several months to pass between submitting your application and hearing an answer from the SSA. That said, by submitting a thorough, well-organized application that clearly makes your case, you can minimize the time it takes to process.

For help with your application, call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800 today. We offer free consultations to disability applicants.

How Long Does It Take to Receive Disability?

The SSA makes no guarantees about its application processing time. In general, you can expect to hear back on your application three to five months after submitting it.

In our years working as disability attorneys, we have talked to many qualifying applicants. Some of them heard back faster than three months, while others waited much longer for an answer on their application.

The SSA’s processing speed is largely beyond your control, as it depends on volume of applications. The more people who submit applications around the time you submit yours, the longer yours might take to process. The SSA’s backlog can grow very quickly.

There are, however, a few things you can do to speed along your application.

How Can I Cut Down on the Time It Takes to Receive Disability Benefits?

The more thorough and the better organized your application, the less chance it has of getting held up at any point in the application process.

By working with a one of our disability attorneys, you can receive professional guidance on how to put together the strongest and most complete application possible based on your unique situation.

You can also cut down on time by collecting essential documents prior to applying for benefits. You should have the following documents ready to submit at the time of your application:

  • Your birth certificate or other proof of birth;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal status;
  • Proof of discharge from the U.S. military, if applicable;
  • W-2 forms or tax returns to verify your employment history;
  • An Adult Disability Report to provide specific details about your medical condition and work history; and
  • Medical evidence pertaining to your condition, such as your diagnosis and lab test results.

We can help you gather these documents and put them together in an easy-to-follow application, ideally cutting down on the time it takes the SSA to verify that you qualify for benefits and approve your application.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for SSDI or SSI?

While the SSA does not require you to apply with the help of a lawyer, doing so can help streamline the application process for you.

Many applicants receive denials despite having qualifying medical conditions. Reasons for rejection include incomplete applications, missing evidence, or simple, preventable errors. If you have never applied for disability before, it is easy to make a simple oversight that hurts your chances of approval.

If the application process only took a few days or a week, you could simply appeal a denial without losing much time at all. But since it takes months, not getting things right the first time can keep you waiting months or longer for the money you need to care for yourself.

What Happens If I Receive a Denial?

If your application is not approved, you can ask the SSA to reconsider its decision. This generally requires that you submit additional, more compelling evidence proving your disability.

If this method does not earn you an approval for benefits, you may appeal directly to an administrative law judge (ALJ). During this hearing, you can make your case—ideally with the help of a disability lawyer. Our attorneys can represent you at your hearing and build a strong case on your behalf.

Call 865-566-0800 for a Free Consultation With a Disability Lawyer.

The disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, want to help you get approved on the first try and in the fastest time possible. We have a long track record of helping our clients win SSDI and SSI benefits. Let us put our resources to work for you. Call 865-566-0800 for a free consultation.