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Disability benefits, what the heck is taking the SSA so long?

If you have been trying to get disability benefits and you have waited months or weeks for information, you might be very frustrated. Unfortunately, you are not alone. There are thousands of applicants who apply for disability each month and are waiting for information just like you. If you have not heard back from the SSA and you have submitted your application several weeks ago, most likely they are working on your case and there is no need to worry.


The first step after the SSA receives your disability benefits application is to review whether or not you meet the most basic requirements for disability. For instance, the SSA will verify whether your condition is going to last 12 continuous months, whether you have sufficient work credits to be considered insured and whether or not you are currently working and making too much money to qualify for SSDI.

If you meet the nonmedical requirements they will send your disability benefits claim to a state disability processing agency or the Disability Determinations Service (DDS) for a medical disability decision. The DDS office will also assign a disability examiner to your case. Next, the disability examiner will request your medical records from your treating sources you have listed on your SSDI application. If you have not recently seen a doctor the examiner may request for you to go to a consultative examination.

How long does it take to get the medical records?


Many applicants wonder why it takes so long to get disability benefits. One of the biggest factors is the wait time for doctors to send relevant medical information to the DDS so they can make a disability determination.

Can you contact the DDS office to find out the status of your disability benefits case? Yes, you can. In fact, if you are able to speak with the disability examiner who has been assigned to your disability benefits case you will be able to find out what they need to make the disability decision. Additionally, it is not unusual for cases to move faster after a claimant has spoken to their disability examiner.

So, if you have not heard from the SSA and you submitted your application more than thirty days ago, call them. If your case has been sent to the DDS office, find out their number and see if you can talk directly to the examiner assigned to your case.

If you have moved make sure the SSA has your new address. It is not unusual for the SSA to try to contact claimants and not be able to get in touch with them. This means the SSA may have sent you a disability decision, but it has gotten lost in the mail or they may have denied your disability benefits simply because they have not been able to make contact with you. Consider also, you only have 60 days from a denial notice to make an appeal so getting your denial letter is critical to the appeal process and your ability to continue with your disability case.

I have a lawyer do I need to know the status?


The good news is if you have hired a disability lawyer they should have information on the status of your case and you will not have to bother with the hassle of trying to contact the SSA on your own.
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