Friday, April 14, 2006

Why does it take so long to get a decision on a Social Security Disability or SSI Disability case?

A claim that is filed with the social security administration on the basis of disability can take quite a while to process at the first stage. The first stage, of course, is the application stage. How long does this stage take? There are no deadlines and cases can take weeks or months. Most often, a decision on an application will be handed down in three or four months. But...sometimes it can take up to a year (though this is rare).

Believe it or not, though, every individual who is connected to your case wants to get it processed as quickly as possible and this includes the claims rep at the social security office who took your disability application, the disability examiner who reviews your medical records, the examiner's supervisor, and, to a smaller extent, even the claims rep's supervisor at the social security office.

So, why then does it take so long to get a decision on a social security disability or ssi case? Here's why: a disability examiner cannot render a determination on a disability case (an approval or denial) without first receiving a claimant's medical records. And waiting to receive a claimant's medical records can take a fair amount of time. And, depending on the hospital or other medical provider in question, may take an inordinate amount of time. Of course, there are other issues that may influence how long it takes to receive a notice of decision, such as quality review on a case.

Another factor that may require a case to "pend" longer may be recent medical procedures that a claimant has had. For example, if a disability claimant files on the basis of impaired vision, but has had recent eye surgery, the case may be required to be held for 3 months (to assess the outcome of the surgery and the residual effects) before a decision can be made (this also applies to heart attacks and strokes).

Generally speaking, though, the long wait for a disability decision is generally attributable to how long it takes a disability examiner to get a claimant's medical records.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Disability Application
Medical disability based on back pain
Social Security Administration Appeal Hearings
The first question in the process - How do I apply
Basic and essential questions about applying and appealing with SSA
North Carolina SSD statistics


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