For the majority of applicants, the Social Security disability initial review takes about 3-5 months. The federal office that processes these applications receives thousands per year, so although frustrating, this process takes time.
Factors That Affect the Length of Time You Have to Wait
Although much of it is out of your hands, a few contributing factors can affect the length of time this process takes. Understanding these factors can help alleviate anxiety as well as prepare you for the outcome.
A successful initial claim can be hard to come by for the majority of applicants, but if you are approved in your initial claim, this speeds up the process and usually results in benefit approval within 90 days. If your claim is not approved, you will have to go about filing an appeal, which can add more time to the process.
Another reason your Social Security disability review might be delayed is because of insufficient medical documentation. Missing or lacking documentation of the injury or illness that is making it hard or impossible for you to work can result in significant delays in the process. The documentation you provided could have been denied if the SSA wasn’t able to access it due to any unsigned releases.
If you did grant the Social Security Administration and their adjoining offices access to your medical records and they still found this documentation to be insufficient, they may ask you to make an appointment with one of their doctors. This process is set up to test and document your disability by their standards if the documents you provided have not. Setting up this appointment, which is essential to complete, can add further time to the process of filing your disability claim.
Unfortunately, the federal government varies from state to state. There could be staffing shortages or other factors that are out of your hands and make you wait longer for your review to be completed. Patience is essential in these instances, and as long as you have provided as much documentation and information as possible, the rest is up to the SSA.
Tips For Speeding Things Up
Though much of this process is up to the professionals that review your claim, there are a few things you can try that might speed things up:
- Provide the necessary documents before you are asked for them. Ensuring that all records of your disability are included and accessible to the reviewer when you submit your application–instead of down the line–can greatly decrease the amount of time your initial disability review takes.
- Make it easy to contact your doctors. Most Social Security disability reviewers will want to verify your medical history. If this means that they decide to contact your doctors’ offices, it will speed things along if you make this easy to do. Listing each of your physicians’ names, office address and phone number, along with your history of visits to them, can make this a faster process for the person reviewing your application.
- Check on your application often. Make sure you are able to receive any phone messages or mail in a timely manner in the event that further documentation is needed. Don’t wind up opening a piece of mail from two weeks ago only to find out that the SSA has been waiting on something from you while you were waiting on them.
Preparing For an Outcome
It can be a stressful time when you are waiting to hear about your Social Security disability initial review. It may seem uncertain, but there are a few signs you can take into account to help better foresee and prepare for a certain outcome.
If the disability you are suffering from is in the SSA’s “blue book,” or list of disabilities, this is a good sign that you could likely be approved for benefits. If this is strengthened by extensive medical evidence, your odds are good.
Another aspect that strengthens your claim is if you are unable to fulfill the requirements of a job you had before sustaining the injury or illness that resulted in your disability. With this kind of clear evidence, you are more likely to be approved quickly for Social Security benefits.
Working With an Attorney
When it comes to waiting for your Social Security disability initial review to be completed, hiring an attorney can make a huge difference. An attorney with expertise when it comes to Social Security can not only ensure that the strongest version of your application is being reviewed, but they can also help you through any obstacles associated with the outcome.
Working with the experienced professionals of Gade & Parekh, LLP is a good idea for anyone filing a Social Security disability claim, whether they are just beginning or are waiting for the initial review to be completed. With over 40 years of combined experience serving disability applicants of California, we can make the process feel less uncertain, explaining the various steps and collecting all of the necessary documents for your application.
If you worked alone in filing your Social Security disability claim and it was denied after the initial review, the attorneys at Gade & Parekh, LLP can ensure that you file a successful appeal. With an extensive history of working with California disability law, our #1 goal is getting you the benefits you deserve. We can explain the appeals process, prepare you for your appeals hearing, and gather all of the proper evidence to aid in a successful appeal.
Trust Gade & Parekh, LLP
If your financial situation is stopping you from contacting an attorney like the ones at Gade & Parekh, LLP, it may be helpful to know you don’t pay us until the Social Security Administration pays you. That means that unless we help you file a successful claim, you won’t owe us any compensation. At Gade & Parekh, LLP, we don’t want anyone to wait with bated breath for a disability review, worrying about whether or not their application was adequate. We can help our clients feel confident in their Social Security disability application, shorten the waiting period, and make the entire process less of a burden.