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Why Does it take so long to receive Social Security Disability Benefits?

Each year thousands of Social Security Disability applicants are forced to wait months and sometimes even years to receive Social Security Disability benefits. There are several reasons why it takes so long for the Social Security Administration to process Social Security disability claims, but in general a Social Security Disability application can take up to 100 days at the initial examination level to process. If you are denied Social Security Disability benefits at the application level and enter into the reconsideration phase (the first level of the Social Security Disability appeals process in most states) it can take an additional 30-60 days. If you are denied at the reconsideration level and you must attend a Social Security Disability hearing you may have to wait one to two years in certain parts of the country for your Social Security Disability hearing to be scheduled. Here are some of the reasons it takes so long to get your disability benefits from the Social Security Administration: 1. The Social Security Administration must seriously consider each Social Security Disability application and they must be fair to each claimant. This means that Social Security Disability examiners within the Social Security Administration must gather and process medical records for listed medical conditions. They must also examine and review Social Security Disability applications from claimants that may in fact have a dubious Social Security Disability claim. Examining each Social Security Disability application is a good idea, but unfortunately other more severe Social Security Disability cases will take longer to process. 2. The Social Security Administration is understaffed and the case load for each examiner and Administrative Judge is very high. In the last few years various legislative actions have been taken to improve the employment staffing situation within the Social Security Administration. 3. The Social Security Disability application process has very specific steps which must be completed to get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The first step is filing your Social Security Disability application. Your application will be sent to a medical examiner who gathers the medical records and reviews them. If your medical information is insufficient, additional medical exams may be required to make an accurate medical determination. Other individuals may also have to provide information on your daily activities. The disability examiner will than either consult with other medical personnel with in the disability agency to make a disability medical determination or in some cases make the decision themselves. 4. The Social Security Disability appeals process can be very long and the wait time to receive an administrative court hearing date in some parts of the process can take from 1 to 2 years. Many Social Security Disability claimants ask if their Social Security Disability claims can be expedited. There are very few emergency situations that will allow for an expedited administrative hearing. It is important to discuss any emergency situations with your Social Security Disability attorney. They may be able to file a ‘dire need letter’ to the hearing office where your Social Security Disability claim is going to be scheduled. Many claimants ask when they can expect to receive their benefits and unfortunately, there is not a clear answer for each Social Security Disability applicant. Some individuals who file for SSI or SSDI have very severe physical or mental conditions that will be approved at the initial Social Security Disability application level and they may receive their benefits quickly. Other Social Security Disability applicants will have to go through many phases of the Social Security Application appeals process and they may have to wait months or sometimes even years to receive their benefits. The good news is that many Social Security Disability claims that are denied at the application and reconsideration appeals level do end up approved after a Administrative Judge reviews them at the Social Security Disability hearing. If your Social Security Disability claim is at the judicial hearing level, it may be a good idea to consult a Social Security Disability attorney who can review your claim and help prepare your case prior to the hearing. If you have been denied Social Security Disability benefits or have questions about a Social Security Disability claim, contact a Social Security Disability lawyer who can answer your questions and review your Social Security Disability claim.