In the Waiting Line: The Social Security Disability Process
While the Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits program had noble beginnings, intended to help those in need who are unable to work, its sterling reputation has recently tarnished. It seems as though there is a new story each week detailing the infinite waits, the endless denials, and dwindling funds. As deserving people get turned down, unqualified applicants may be awarded benefits—the injustices go on and on.
Behind these common complaints and struggles, however, still lies a program that is aimed to help. Whether you were born with a disability that has prevented you from working or you were injured on the job and can no longer work, SSD can serve as a financial lifeline for both you and your family.
One of the many reasons we encourage people to seek our help as soon as possible in the application or appeal process is that the process for receiving benefits is a long one. The system is overrun with applicants, and many people wait months before seeking legal help. This only makes the process longer, which makes applicants increasingly frustrated and financially strapped.
The Approximate Timeline for Social Security Disability Benefits
From start to finish, this is the approximate timeline that you can expect when applying for SSD benefits:
- When you initially file your application, you should receive a decision in about 3 – 6 months. It may be longer or shorter depending on how quickly you are able to gather your medical records and return forms that are requested. Sometimes, if more information is needed about your medical health and disability, you may be sent for a consultative exam. Schedule this appointment as soon as you can to avoid delaying the process further!
- Most applications for SSD benefits are turned down the first time, which requires an appeal. This appeal will take another approximate 3 – 6 months to reach a decision, and depends on the same factors as your initial application. Do not be discouraged by a denial. If you do not yet have an attorney, now is a good time to call in the legal professionals for help with your appeal.
- If your appeal is denied, you may be able to request a second appeal, which is known as a Request for Hearing. This is the lengthiest phase of the process, often taking well over a year after your request to schedule a hearing. Because of the amount of people who are denied SSD benefits, the system is overwhelmed with appeals, so you are merely waiting in line after those who requested a hearing before you.
It can be very frustrating and stressful to wait this long to receive benefits, and at Schmidt Kramer, we know the challenges that you are facing as you wait to be approved. Your best bet at moving the system along is to seek the help of an attorney early in the process to ensure that your application is as complete and error-free as possible.
If you are considering applying for SSD benefits, or have already been denied, contact us today—our team of experienced Social Security Disability attorneys are standing by to help. Simply call, fill out our online contact form, or begin a live chat to be connect with our firm today.