Suffering from a disability and undergoing medical treatment for it can be a painful experience, as the financial troubles can cause a lot of anxiety. Moreover, the delay in receiving the Social Security Disability (SSD) approval letter and winning disability benefits can also be a frustrating process.
Generally, it takes three to five months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to decide an application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits after which a Disability Approval Letter may be issued if the application is approved.
An experienced SSD could help avoid unnecessary delays and ensure that a timely Disability Approval Letter is issued.
How Is An SSD Application Decided?
The SSA runs two federal programs for disability benefits- SSDI and SSI. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have paid social security taxes out of the income earned at a job or through self-employment for a long enough duration. On the other hand, SSI is a need-based program for people who have no to little income, and are disabled, blind or above 65 years of age.
A Social Security field officer will go through your non-medical requirements after you apply for benefits, that is, the earning records and work credits in the case of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, and the income and resource limitations in the case of Supplemental Security Income benefits. If the non-medical requirements are satisfied, the process goes further for examining medical requirements to a Disability Determination Service (DDS) office.
The DDS staff goes through your medical records to decide whether you qualify for SSI/ SSDI benefits. In case the medical records are inconclusive, the DDS staff can hold a consultative examination with the physician who treated you or with an independent healthcare professional. Based on this assessment, the DDS staff decides if your application is to be approved or rejected. The entire process is called initial disability determination.
Although SSA provides an estimated time of three to five months for the initial disability determination, there could be a delay due to some factors-
- Delay by hospitals or healthcare professionals in responding to requests by DDS for your medical records.
- Missing consultative appointments arranged by the DDS.
- Failing to respond to requests by the DDS for additional information about your application or for scheduling a consultative examination.
How Much Time Does It Take At The Appeals Stage?
If your application gets denied during the initial disability determination, you will have to appeal the decision. There are three levels of appeal in the case of disability benefits applications-
- Reconsideration request, which takes an average of 147 days.
- Appeal before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), for which hearing could be scheduled within 5 to 15 months depending on the workload at the hearing center.
- Review by the Appeals Council, which could take about one full year.
Contact Law firm to avoid unnecessary delays
At Law Firm, we are committed to help the disabled community in all ways. We are as interested as you are in helping you win the disability benefits you truly need and deserve. Our team of experienced disability lawyers and attorneys have an in depth understanding of the complicated SSD processes to help you avoid unnecessary delays in getting a Disability Approval Letter.
About Author :- Francis Babet loves pursuing excellence through writing and has a passion for Legal. He currently writes for the Disability law Firm, a USA Based Law Firm that provides Short-term disability, SSD, SSI, SSDI, Personal Injury, and Disability pay. His work has been published on various sites related to Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income, Disability Benefits and Disability Approved.