The length of time it will take for your disability application to be approved or denied will depend entirely on the individual circumstances of your case. However, generally, you may expect to hear if you’ve been approved after about 3 to 5 months. It’s a long time to wait, anxiously anticipating what the answer will be. The best action you can take to minimize the chance of delaying the process is to hire and cooperate with an experienced disability lawyer near you.
At Liner Legal, we’ve been representing and advocating for disabled Ohioans in and around Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Columbus, Sandusky, Warren, and Youngstown areas for many years. Our total commitment to getting you the disability benefits you deserve is unmatched. If you need answers about how to get or keep your disability benefits, contact our office for information and assistance.
What Takes So Long to Get a Disability Approval Decision?
When someone submits their completed application for disability benefits to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the first step in the process sends the package of documents to your state’s Disability Determination Service (DDS).
Each state maintains its own agency in which it employs people assigned to assess the disability applications seeking Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI or SSD) benefits or Supplement Security Income (SSI Benefits). Many of these workers are trained in vocational rehabilitation and are able to understand the medical references and documentation submitted with your application. In many cases, they will contact the treating healthcare provider or seek additional documentation to get a better grasp of the nature and extent of the claimant’s impairments.
Unfortunately, in many cases, files and applications are reviewed without deep examination and the claimant’s case is assessed based on a limited, if not brief, review of the package as submitted. The degree of effort devoted to each case is largely dependent on the volume of work that the office is currently processing and how pressured the case reviewer is to move files along.
In some cases, a conscientious case reviewer will follow through and ask for additional records or for more precise information from the doctors. Other case reviewers merely issue a denial of the claim.
This initial disability determination process takes between three and four months.
What If My Claim Is Initially Denied?
This is a common occurrence. In fact, even valid, worthy, and well-documented claims get denied for unknown reasons. Often, the denial is simply an error. Nonetheless, the next step is to request a “reconsideration.” While this rarely results in a reversal of the initial denial, it is a requirement before we can file an appeal.
Always file an appeal of a denial — ALWAYS APPEAL!
More than half of initial denials are reversed on appeal, meaning that more than half of all initial denials are unfair, unjust, and incorrect.
Appeals must be filed no later than 60 days after you received notice of the denial decision. This is true for filing for reconsideration and for filing all appeals.
Waiting for an Appeal Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
The waiting time between your filing an appeal and the date of your hearing can be anywhere from five months to as long as 15 months. The length of time your hearing will take to be scheduled and conducted depends on the number of issues and the complexity of the issues involved in your disability claim.
A claim based on a simple, fairly apparent but severe impairment that should never have been denied in the first place may be resolved more quickly than one involving a more obscure, less readily provable impairment like Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).
The Social Security Administration (SSA) insists on documentation to support an applicant’s disability claim. The first phrase in the SSA’s definition of a disability refers to their insistence on proof:
A disability is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment lasting or expected to last at least 12 months (or result in death) and which prevents the person from performing substantial gainful activities.
Without clear, authoritative, or objectively validated evidence that your impairment not only exists but that it is severe enough to persist for at least one year and prevent you from working, the disability claim can fail.
Experience Disability Lawyers Will Prevent Needless Delays in Getting Disability Approved
One common cause of delays in processing disability claims is the poorly prepared application package submitted with the claim. When inexperienced laymen, or even professional lawyers or non-lawyer advocates overlook a required document or submit written physician notes that are unreadable, they are building in delays to that claims movement.
Disability lawyers who specialize in understanding disability law, collecting and organizing medical records, and preparing those documents to be as clearly and simply presented as possible, eliminate unnecessary and avoidable delays.
At Liner Legal, all we do is represent and advocate for the rights of disabled individuals to the benefits they deserve. Whether you are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplement Security Benefits, you and your family need the approval decision to be issued as speedily as possible.