How Long Does it Take for My SSDI (Social Security Disability) Claim to be Approved?

The length of time for a social security disability claim to be approved could be anywhere between 2 months to 2 years. There are several factors that affect the timeline.

  • The nature of your disability;
  • If you must be scheduled for a medical examination in order to obtain additional evidence to support your claim
  • How quickly you can send in medical evidence from your doctors or medical providers
  • Also, if your claim is flagged for a quality assurance review, it may delay things further.

Five month waiting period

In addition to the above points, there is also a five month waiting period before you will receive any sort of disability payment. This ensures that individuals filing for SSDI actually have a long-term disability. Social Security disability benefits will be paid only after you have been disabled continuously throughout a period of five full calendar months, and the waiting period will not be reimbursed.

What is SSDI and How Do You Apply?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program intended to help individuals who can not work due to a physical or mental condition.  To qualify for SSDI, you must have a severe physical or mental impairment, your impairment must prevent you from any type of gainful work and the impairment must last at least 12 months.  If you feel you are no longer able to perform any type of gainful work due to your condition and the condition has lasted or will last 12 months, then you may apply for SSDI.  To apply, you can visit your local Social Security office, call 800-772-1213 or online at www.ssa.gov.

Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program intended to help individuals who can not work due to a physical or mental condition.  To qualify for SSDI, you must have a severe physical or mental impairment, your impairment must prevent you from any type of gainful work and the impairment must last at least 12 months.  If you feel you are no longer able to perform any type of gainful work due to your condition and the condition has lasted or will last 12 months, then you may apply for SSDI.  To apply, you can visit your local Social Security office, call 800-772-1213 or online at www.ssa.gov.

Childhood Disability

Children under 18 years old may be able to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child benefits.  The child must be considered disabled and the child’s parents must meet the income and resources restrictions.  If the parents’ assets exceed $2,000 for single parent or $3,000 for married parents then the child would not be eligible for benefits.  Also, the parents’ income is taken into consideration.  Each state has established a maximum income level.  To determine the income levels, you may contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 or visit www.ssa.gov/regions/regional.  If the parents do not meet these restrictions, the child will not be eligible for benefits regardless of the severity of the disability. 

Why doctors are important to your case

Your treating doctor has an important role in your Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) claim; your doctor’s opinion is given more weight than the Social Security Administration’s examiner.  It is important when deciding to file for SSDI to speak with your doctor first.  You will want to get your doctors opinion on Social Security Disability.  Unfortunately, there are some doctors that believe everyone is capable of working, if you have one of these doctors then you may want to find another doctor.  The reason being is that your medical records are important to you receiving benefits, if your doctor doesn’t support your claim, it will make it harder for you to receive benefits.  If your doctor does support you filing for SSDI, you should establish a point of contact at the doctors’ office that may be easier to contact, since doctors are so busy in their everyday agenda.  Throughout your claim you will be requesting copies of your medical records, so you will want someone to contact who will be able to work on those copies right a way.  Also, if you have an attorney assigned to your case, you should advise your doctors’ office. 

Claims Process

 

In previous blogs we discussed the work credits need to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  Today I am going to discuss the claims process.  Once you make the decision to apply for SSDI, you must first submit your initial application (see blog “file a claim”).   Most likely, you will be denied; over 75% of applicants are so don’t get discouraged.  Once you receive your denial letter, you have 60 days from the date of the denial to submit a request for reconsideration.  At this stage, you should submit additional information that will support your claim that was not presented in your initial application.  This information could include: medical records, employment attendance records to show missed work or a finding of disability from a state or other federal disability office.  Once you have submitted your information, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your case and make a decision.  Again, you may be denied; only 5% of claims are reversed at the reconsideration stage.  When you receive your second denial, you will submit another appeal.  This time you will be requesting a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).  This appeal is much like your first appeal in that you only have 60 days from the date of denial to request a hearing.   

 

Good Luck!

 

File a Claim

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your impairment must have lasted at least 12 months or is expected to last at least 12 months. If your condition meets this requirement, you may file a claim.  There are three options for filing your initial application for benefits. They are: (1) apply in person at a Social Security office, (2) apply by phone and (3) apply online.  Continue reading

Work Credits Needed

The amount of work credits needed to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) depends on your age at the time you became disabled.  If you are under the age of 24, you must earn at least six work credits from the year in which you turned 21 years old to the date you became disabled.  If you are between the age of 24 and 31, you need to earn at lease one-half of the potential work credits from the year you turned 21 years old.  For example, if you became disabled at the age of 28, you need to have earned at least 14 work credits (7 years x 4 potential work credits per year = 28, 28 x ½ = 14).  If you are disabled and over the age of 31, you must earn 20 work credits within 10 years of the date you became disabled.  If you are over 31 years old and become disabled, the amount of work credits needed are: Continue reading

Social Security Disability Work Credits

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), you must have earned enough work credits prior to becoming disabled and paid social security taxes.  Work credits are received if you earned more income than the minimum per quarter for that year.  The 2013 minimum earnings per quarter is $1,160.  There are four quarters per year, (January-March, April-June, July-September, and October-December).  You may earn one work credit for each quarter, making a total of 4 credits per year.  Keep in mind that you do not have to earn $1,160 in each quarter to qualify for 4 credits in that year, instead credits are based on total earnings.  For example, if you worked the month of May 2013 and you earned $5,000, you may qualify for 4 work credits because your total earnings exceed the minimum requirement for that year of $4,640 ($1,160 x 4)

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Medicare

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDIB) can be a trying experience, both physically and emotionally.  However, once you receive the approval letter it will be a welcomed relief.  Not only will you receive a monthly payment from the Social Security Administration (SSA), but you will automatically qualify for Medicare.  Your date of disability, also known as your “date of onset”, is the date that SSA determines you became disabled.  24 months from that date is when you are eligible to begin receiving your Medicare benefits.

Fun fact:  If you receive SSDIB for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease, you may receive Medicare the same month your SSDIB begins! Knowledge is power!