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How Long Does It Take for Your SSDI Claim to Be Approved?

The Social Security Administration or SSA does not have any deadline when deciding on disability cases, making it hard to predict when to receive an SSDI approval. On average, it takes the DDS about three to four months from the application date to decide an initial decision.

There are also a few contributing factors that can speed up or delay the approval of your case, including quality reviews and expedited decisions from the agency. In this article, we’ll show you how you can predict the possible timeframe to get approval. And the things that you can do to speed up the process of getting your SSDI claim.

The Application and Appeal Process

The Disability Determination Services or DDS’ decisions vary in their duration depending on the stage of your application process. While it takes the state agency a few months to decide on your initial application, your claim can still be denied. This means that you’ll enter the stage of reconsideration where the waiting time for your initial denial is almost the same as the time to get approval for your initial application.

After waiting for reconsideration, a hearing will be requested for your claim to issue an opinion by the Administrative Law Judge or ALJ. This can take up to a year and if the ALJ denies your claim, you’ll have to re-appeal the decision to the Appeals Council and then to the federal district court if the AC denies your claim or coincides with the ALJ.

Quality Reviews

If your case is pulled to be reviewed for quality assurance, it means you’ll have to wait longer to hear from the DDS about their decision on your SSDI claim. The SSA performs those random quality assurance reviews to ensure that the DDS employees who are hired by the state, not by the SSA, are doing their jobs correctly.

This refers to complying with and applying the SSA’s guidelines while making their decisions. Typically, this will cost you a couple of extra months, but you’ll be notified if your claim is selected for one of those quality reviews. Depending on if your case is approved in its initial state, the total time needed will be around six to seven months if your case is reviewed. 

Medical Records

SSDI applicants usually provide insufficient evidence to prove their disability. When applying for disability benefits, you need to submit all the medical records related to your disability to help the DDS make a quick decision and approve your case.

They will use your medical reports to decide whether you’re disabled or not, so you need to provide them with as much information and evidence as you can. Some of the documents you need to include in your application are hospital records, pharmacy records, lab results, and doctor’s reports to increase your chances of getting an early approval without going through the whole process. Submitting these records as early as possible is another important factor that can affect the process. So, file them all with your initial application to get approved faster.

Having an Attorney

Hiring a social security disability lawyer does not mean that they can speed up the SSA’s approval for your claim. However, these lawyers can request off-the-record decisions and attorney-adviser opinions in many states. According to social security disability lawyers in Jonesborough, you can get a positive decision on your claim without having to go to a disability hearing if your attorney’s off-the-record request is successful. Besides, you’re more likely to get approved for your SSDI claim if you have an attorney working with you. 

Expedited Approvals

There are some cases in which the SSA will expedite the approval process for the applicant’s SSDI claim. For instance, if you suffer from a terminal illness, you or any of your family members can notify the SSA and have them expedite the process. Other expedited decisions are made if the applicant qualifies for a compassionate allowance, or if they are considered as a threat to public and personal safety. You can also get an expedited decision if you have served in the military, or you are exceptionally in dire need of assistance.

Many important factors impact the duration of wait time needed for your SSDI claim to be approved. Having a social security disability lawyer can guarantee that your claim is going to be approved as quickly as possible in the early stages of the process.

Without an attorney, the chances of getting your claim denied may increase and the duration of waiting for a disability hearing or an AC approval can be longer than a year.

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