Disability social security claims: how to avoid delays (2023)

The Social Security Administration updated about 170,000 Americans on the status of their disability benefits in December. According to one study, the average waiting time for a decision was seven months, the longest in 14 years.recent US fact report.

Jeff Nesbit, deputy communications officer for Social Security, said years of underfunding meant the agency "can't keep up with demand for services and our annual increases in fixed costs."

Disability assessment services, which assess disability claims, have been hit particularly hard, Nesbit wrote in aNote September 2022, "due to historically high turnover as the workload becomes less reasonable with fewer employees."

How long does it take to process my disability claim?

About 8 million Americansreceive monthly disability benefits from Social Security each month. To qualify, you must have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year or is likely to result in your death.

Funds are primarily spent through Social Security Disability Insurance (SDI). Another program, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, caters to seniors with limited financial resources. (SSI is funded by the Treasury Department but administered by the SSA.)

The earliest you can receive an SSDI payment is five months after Social Security determines you're eligible. So the longer it takes to process an application, the longer it will take for you to start receiving benefits.

The average wait time for an initial decision is now seven months, three months longer than in 2019, according to USA Facts.

Disability social security claims: how to avoid delays (1)

"These are people who can't work, so not having access to funds for so long is a real struggle, especially during high inflation."Joel Eskovitz, Director of Social Security and SavingsAARP Public Policy Institutehe told CNET. "You can't be gainfully employed while applying - selling things online or driving for Uber could put you at risk."

(Video) 1 Easy Way To Avoid Social Security Disability Approval Delay

An estimatetwo of the three candidatesHer first application is denied, according to USA Facts, which also noted that the appeals process has a success rate of less than 50-50 (47%) and can take years.

According to a 2020 report, about 8,000 disability claimants file for bankruptcy each year and 10,000 people die while waiting to hear about their claimsState Accounting Office.

Why does it take so long to process a disability claim?

According to Nesbit, the staff shortage has helped create a damage assessment backlog. The hiring freeze imposed in March 2022 has been lifted, he added, but headcount is still at a 25-year low.

"If we lose staff, our service deteriorates," Nesbit said. "As a result, the public is experiencing service delays and long waits for disability decisions," he said. An ongoing shortage "will make it even more difficult for us to get out of our current backlog and increase public expectations of the service."

In August, the claims portfolio reached 929,000, more than 25% more than in September 2021.

Although Republican lawmakers have tabled proposalsreduce pension costs, President Joe Biden requested $14.8 billion for the agency, up $1.4 billion from a year earlier.

Kathleen Romig, director of social security and disability policy at the Center for Policy and Budget Priorities, said the increase in funding is vital for the agency to replace thousands of staff who have died and modernize an "outdated technology infrastructure".

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"Just staying afloat is unacceptable," Romig wrote.in a blog post on November 18.

Disability social security claims: how to avoid delays (2)

Andrew Biggs served as deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration during George W. Bush's presidency. He said the system is inherently complex in many ways.

When monthly disability insurance benefits were introduced in 1956, Congress wanted to prevent fraud by giving people every opportunity to plead their cases, he told CNET.

"People have tried to simplify it, but they're facing obstacles from Congress and the disability community," said Biggs, now a senior fellow at theAmerican Economic Institute. "It's a very sensitive subject for obvious reasons."

Most people associate social security with retirement, he added. “But disabilities require a lot more manpower. There are so many cases that are not well defined," he said.

The pandemic led to further delays, although there have beenfewer applications. In part, Eskovitz said, that's because field offices are closed and agents can't access sensitive information from home.

"A disability claim is generally a tedious process with a lot of paperwork," he said.

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Continue reading:How to apply for social security benefits in the event of disability

Can Social Security expedite my disability claim?

While the wait can be long for most applicants, the agency automatically advances some categories of claims.

Liste der Compassionate Grants (CAL):Social Security subsidieshundreds of conditionsthat may qualify for an urgent request, including aggressive cancers, neurodegenerative and immune system disorders, and rare diseases affecting children. (If your condition is not listed, you cansubmit for review.)

Assumed disability:If you are applying for SSI and you have a severe physical or mental disability, the agency may determine that you have a "presumed disability." This allows you to accumulate benefits for up to six months while you wait.Disability assessment servicesmake a statement.

Qualification ConditionsThese include complete vision or hearing loss, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, end-stage kidney disease, and terminal illnesses with a life expectancy of six months or less.

Service Members:If you are a veteran designated by the Department of Veterans Affairs as "100% P&T" (with a complete and permanent disability), Social Security treats your claim "as a high priority workload," according tothe agency's website.

Fast Track is available to veterans who have sustained a disability while on active dutyfrom October 1, 2001. (It is not necessary that the injury occurred during the fight.)

Are there other ways to expedite my disability claim?

Social Security can also expedite your application if you're in financial trouble. The Agency considers the complainant to bein dire need, or DRND if you are unable to obtain food, shelter or medical care due to lack of resources.

If you think you have a DRND, notify management by phone or aLetter of Urgent Needdetails of your situation.

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How long does a disability appeal take?

If your original application is denied, you generally have four options to appeal the decision.

  • Review of Disability Assessment Services
  • A hearing by an administrative judge
  • A review by the Board of Appeal of the Social Security Administration
  • File a lawsuit in federal district court

Each step must be performed in order. The initial re-examination by Disability Determination Services is subject to delays that impact turnaround times, and the average wait time is now nearly five months.

Disability social security claims: how to avoid delays (3)

How can I expedite an application for disability benefits?

If you are appealing a decision on your disability claim, Social Security must give you at least 75 days' notice before a scheduled hearing.

However, you may waive this notice by completing aWaiver of timely written hearing. While this can give you an earlier appointment, it also means you have less time to prepare your case.

You can also make an inquiryrecorded decision (OTR)by an administrative judge who says he believes the evidence supports "an entirely favorable decision".

You will be required to submit a summary prior to your scheduled hearing that includes relevant evidence about your disability and may also include a completed OTRverification list.

You can start the application processSSDI herejSS here. For more details on the functions, contact yourOmbudsman on site.

(Video) Delays in Social Security Disability Claims Process: How to Survive the 2 to 3 Year Wait


Is there any way to speed up a disability claim? ›

Another option to speed up the appeal process is to ask for an on-the-record (OTR) decision by an administrative law judge. An OTR request indicates that you believe the evidence in your file clearly supports your disability application, without the need for you or expert witnesses to make the case at a hearing.

Why is my Social Security Disability decision taking so long? ›

Because there are so many applications that are filed each year, it takes time for the SSA to process and review each one. This review time can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months on average. Most people have their initial application denied. It doesn't mean that your case is over and that you should give up.

How do you answer a disability claim question? ›

How to Answer Disability Questionnaires
  1. Write clearly and legibly. Avoid erasures as much as possible. ...
  2. Do not leave any section of the form blank (unless otherwise specified). ...
  3. Give consistent answers. ...
  4. Answer the questions truthfully. ...
  5. Follow the instructions on the form.
Feb 27, 2022

How can I survive waiting for SSDI? ›

While you wait for disability benefits to be approved, consider seeking assistance through other local, state, and federal support programs. These may include: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

How long does an expedited SSDI claim take? ›

For some CAL conditions, you can sometimes get disability almost immediately because Social Security requires only minimal objective medical evidence and will sometimes grant approval based on a diagnosis alone. This makes it easier to approve these claims quickly—sometimes in as little as ten days.

How do I know if my Social Security disability was approved? ›

You can check the status of your application online using your personal my Social Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What not to say when applying for disability? ›

5 Things Not to Say in a Disability Interview
  1. No one will hire me; I can't find work. ...
  2. I am not under medical treatment for my disability. ...
  3. I have a history of drug abuse or criminal activity. ...
  4. I do household chores and go for walks. ...
  5. My pain is severe and unbearable. ...
  6. Legal Guidance When SSDI Benefits Are Denied.

How do I pass a disability interview? ›

6 Tips for a Successful Disability Interview

Bring your medical records and other relevant documentation to your in-person interview. Or have them accessible while on a phone interview. Your interviewer may wish to review them. Have all necessary forms completed and with you during the interview.

What disqualifies a person from disability? ›

To qualify for disability benefits, a person must not be able to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA) earning up to a certain amount. If you are able to make more than the SGA, then you will not qualify. For 2022 the threshold is $1,470 per month. For an applicant who is statutorily blind the amount is $2,460.

What is the fastest you can get disability? ›

Generally, if your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you must wait five months before you can receive your first SSDI benefit payment. This means you would receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.

Why do you have to wait 5 months for SSDI? ›

The purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that applicants have long-term disabilities before they receive any benefits. For example, if the SSA awards benefits on February 1st, they won't actually be dispersed until July.

Does everyone get denied SSDI the first time? ›

No, the Social Security Administration (SSA) does not deny everyone the first time they apply. However, it does initially deny nearly two-thirds of all Social Security disability applications.

How long does it take for Social Security disability to make a decision? ›

Generally, it takes about 3 to 5 months to get a decision. However, the exact time depends on how long it takes to get your medical records and any other evidence needed to make a decision. * How does Social Security make the decision? We send your application to a state agency that makes disability decisions.

How long after disability exam do they make a decision? ›

Once that exam is completed and the report is released, they will finish reviewing your claim and a decision will be made. At the initial stage, it takes roughly 4-6 months to receive a decision.

How long does it take for DDS to make a decision? ›

When you first file for benefits, your claim will be reviewed by Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency that helps process disability applications. DDS will make a decision on your initial application for disability benefits on average three to five months after filing.

What is fast track SSDI? ›

Fast-Track Processes

The QDD process uses a computer-based predictive model to screen initial applications to identify cases where a favorable disability determination is highly likely and medical evidence is readily available.

What is the longest wait for SSDI back pay? ›

Retroactive benefits cover a maximum of 12 months from your established onset date (EOD) through your application date. However, there is a five-month waiting period from your disability onset date.

What is an automatic approval for Social Security disability? ›

"Automatic” here means that Social Security recognizes that these conditions meet its baseline definition of disability: an illness or injury that prevents you from working for at least a year or likely will cause death.

Does everyone get back pay for disability? ›

Answer. Almost everyone who is approved for disability gets backpay, whether the claim is for SSDI or SSI, or both. Backpay (past due benefits) are paid out in just about every single disability case.

What are the chances of getting approved for disability? ›

Unfortunately, the majority of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are denied. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the average acceptance rate of initial applications is 22 percent, and approximately 63 percent of SSDI applications are denied.

What happens after you get a fully favorable disability decision? ›

If you receive a fully favorable decision, the SSA approved your application with the onset date of disability that you originally noted. You will then start receiving disability benefits as soon as your elimination period or waiting period has ended.

What is the best way to say disability? ›

Don't automatically refer to 'disabled people' in all communications – many people who need disability benefits and services don't identify with this term. Consider using 'people with health conditions or impairments' if it seems more appropriate.

What can stop you from getting Social Security disability? ›

  • You Earn Too Much Income. ...
  • Your Disability Won't Last Long Enough or Isn't Severe Enough. ...
  • The SSA Cannot Find You. ...
  • You Refuse to Cooperate. ...
  • You Fail to Follow Prescribed Therapy. ...
  • Your Disability Is Based on Drug Addiction or Alcoholism. ...
  • You Have Been Convicted of a Crime. ...
  • You Commit Fraud.

How would you describe daily activities for disability? ›

Activities of daily living include any activity you engage in on a daily basis such as showering, brushing your teeth, house cleaning, shopping, etc. The SSA needs to know if your condition causes pain or difficultly when performing any daily activity.

What not to say during disability interview? ›

Making Statements That Can Hurt Your Claim – Unless you are specifically asked pertinent questions, do not talk about alcohol or drug use, criminal history, family members getting disability or unemployment, or similar topics. However, if you are asked directly about any of those topics, answer them truthfully.

Should you answer yes to disability questions? ›

"How should I answer the disability question on job applications?" The answer is, it's up to you. You have the law behind you, and what you expect from employers is entirely based on what information you tell them. If you don't think disclosing the disability is important, you don't have to.

Why do employers want to know if you have a disability? ›

The laws require that qualified applicants and employees with disabilities be provided with reasonable accommodations. Yet, in order to benefit from the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, you must disclose your disability.

What disabilities are hard to prove? ›

Mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder are qualifying disabilities that are difficult to prove. Having a long history of medical treatments and contact with a mental health practitioner can improve your case.

What is considered to be a permanent disability? ›

Permanent disability (PD) is any lasting disability from your work injury or illness that affects your ability to earn a living. If your injury or illness results in PD you are entitled to PD benefits, even if you are able to go back to work.

Why do most people get denied for disability? ›

Many Social Security Disability claims are denied due to a lack of solid medical evidence. If you want to qualify for disability benefits you will need to prove that you are unable to work due to your disabling condition.

What is the average SSDI payment for 2022? ›

Federal Benefit Rate (FBR)

For 2022, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) FBR is $841 per month for an eligible individual and $1,261 per month for an eligible couple.

How many years can you go back for back pay for SSI? ›

You won't be able to collect retroactive benefits generally for more than 12 months—the 12 months before your application date.

What is the most back pay for Social Security? ›

Fifteen months elapsed from the time you became disabled — what the SSA calls your “onset date” — to when your claim was finally approved. By law SSDI benefits have a five-month waiting period — they start the sixth full month after the onset date — so you're entitled to 10 months of past-due benefits.

Can you be on SSDI forever? ›

In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you have a disability. However, there are certain circumstances that may change your continuing eligibility for disability benefits. For example, your health may improve or you might go back to work.

Are there exceptions to the SSDI waiting period? ›

If you are eligible to receive financial assistance through the SSA-managed Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) program, you should not have to wait five months to receive disability benefits. Another exception to the five-month waiting period rule is if you are reinstated to receive disability benefits.

Is it easier to get SSDI after age 60? ›

If you're between 60 and 66, you may have an easy time getting disability benefits while saving your full retirement benefits. Winning a disability claim generally gets easier for people as they become older. This is particularly true for people over the age of 60.

What are the disadvantages of being on disability? ›

  • Disability insurance can be expensive. Coverage costs more the older you get or the more dangerous your job is. ...
  • Policies can come with exclusions that don't cover pre-existing conditions. ...
  • Waiting period. ...
  • If you never experience a disability, you won't receive benefits.

How many times can disability deny you? ›

The answer to the question, “How many times can you get denied for disability?” is there is not a limit established by the SSA for the number of times an applicant can submit a disability claim. However, the answer to the question, “How many times should I apply for disability benefits” should be one.

Why does Social Security Disability take so long? ›

Because there are so many applications that are filed each year, it takes time for the SSA to process and review each one. This review time can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months on average. Most people have their initial application denied. It doesn't mean that your case is over and that you should give up.

How can I contact EDD disability faster? ›

To contact a representative or to use the State Employee Automated Phone Service:
  1. Nonindustrial Disability Insurance: 1-866-758-9768.
  2. Disability Insurance for State Employees: 1-866-352-7675.
  3. Paid Family Leave for State Employees: 1-877-945-4747.
  4. California Relay Service: Call 711.

How long after approved for disability do you get your money? ›

Generally, if your application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is approved, you must wait five months before you can receive your first SSDI benefit payment. This means you would receive your first payment in the sixth full month after the date we find that your disability began.

How long does a disability allowance claim take? ›

You'll normally get a 'decision letter' within 3 months. If your claim is successful, the decision letter will tell you how much you'll get and for how long.

What is the best waiting period for disability insurance? ›

The elimination period is the time between when you file a disability claim and when your benefits begin. A 90-day elimination period is best for most people.

How long is the EDD disability waiting period? ›

The first seven days of every new claim is a non-payable waiting period. The first payable day is the eighth day of your claim. Review the step-by-step overview for the DI Claim Process to learn more. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

How long after I receive my award letter will I get my money? ›

You can usually expect your back pay and first monthly check to start 30-90 days after the award letter. As far as insurance is concerned, if you were approved for SSI, you will receive If approved for SSI, will receive Medicaid benefits automatically depending on the state you live in.

Why do I have to wait 5 months for disability? ›

Applicants can begin to receive benefits starting the sixth month after their established onset date (EOD) due to a mandatory five-month waiting period maintained by the SSA. The purpose of this waiting period is to ensure that applicants have long-term disabilities before they receive any benefits.

Will disability benefits increase in 2023? ›

The increase will begin with benefits that Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2023. Increased SSI payments will begin on December 30, 2022. We mail COLA notices throughout the entire month of December. However, you may not need to wait for your mailed notice to learn your new benefit amount for 2023.

What illnesses qualify for disability allowance? ›

the person must be suffering from an injury, disease, congenital deformity or physical or mental illness or defect which has continued or may reasonably be expected to continue for a period of at least a year.

Is disability benefit backdated? ›

Lots of people who are entitled to a Severe Disability Premium have not been getting it. Severe Disability Premium can be backdated to when you became entitled to it. In some cases, this can be for a long time and can mean you get a big back payment.

Does permanent disability mean forever? ›

If you have a permanent partial disability, you are eligible to receive the total amount of your PD benefits spread over a fixed number of weeks. If you have a permanent total disability, you are eligible to receive PD payments for the rest of your life.

Does Social Security disability last for life? ›

Generally, your disability benefits will continue as long as your medical condition has not improved and you can't work. Benefits won't necessarily continue indefinitely.

What happens after 2 years on long term disability? ›

After two years you must be unable to perform the tasks required by any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified, or could become qualified for, by reason of education, training or experience, in order to retain long term disability benefits.


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