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Disability Decision

If you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income, chances are you have been sick for several months, unable to work and may be facing financial hardships. You may have expected to receive your benefits immediately and did not realize most claimants wait months or even years to receive their Social Security Disability benefits. Claimants who file their Social Security Disability applications and receive SSD benefits immediately are, unfortunately, the exception.

All dates for disability decisions provided by the Social Security Administration are simply estimates. The Social Security Administration does have a legal obligation to meet any of their outlined decision dates. Why the delay in decision making? This is a great question, and there are several legitimate reasons:

·         Disability examiners who are reviewing Social Security Disability applications may have to wait months to receive all of your medical records which they must have to make a determination of disability for your Social Security Disability claim. Claimants who have not seen a doctor recently will likely have to be examined by a consultative examiner to prove they are still disabled. Getting consultative examinations scheduled, getting the results back to the examiner and having the examiner review the results all takes time. Why do the disability examiners care about the consultative examinations? These exams are frequently needed to provide the DDS examiner with more definitive information about a claimant’s disabling health condition and allow them to finalize their disability decision and close a claimant’s SSD case.

·         The number of Social Security Disability applications filed each year has substantially grown, and there are simply not enough disability examiners to review the claims quickly.

·         Claimants fail to provide complete information about their medical history, work history or other relevant personal data, and the Social Security Administration must spend valuable time researching and requesting any missing information.

·         Claimants who are denied Social Security Disability benefits and delay requesting any of their Social Security Disability appeals can also substantially add to their wait time. Claimants have 60 days to request, not only the reconsideration, but also the administrative hearing. Waiting the full 60 days to make the appeals can delay the claimant from receiving benefits for up to 4 months.

·         Most claimants who have appealed their Social Security Disability decision will wait the most time for their hearing to be scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge. The amount of time can vary greatly depending on where the claimant lives. Some claimant’s Social Security Disability hearings are scheduled immediately; others wait up to two years to have their hearings scheduled.

Expediting the Disability Decision

Can the claimant do anything to expedite their Social Security Disability decision? Yes, claimants can gather medical records for the disability examiner and their Social Security Disability lawyer, or at the very least, make sure the examiner gets all of the medical records they have in their possession. Claimants can provide accurate and detailed information on their Social Security Disability application. Claimants can return phone calls and answer letters as quickly as possible and finally, claimants can file all Social Security Disability appeals as soon as the denial letters are received.

Hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer may also help claimants get approved for Social Security Disability. Evidence has shown that hiring a Social Security Disability lawyer can increase a claimant’s chances for approval at every stage of the Social Security Disability process.