You have made the decision to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Now you’re wondering how long you have to wait for a decision. This can be a stressful time, especially if you are counting on disability benefits to provide for your family and meet your obligations.
Learning more about the timeline and how you can shorten it empowers you to make the most of this time. Get the support and guidance you need by calling Baker & Baker at 850-433-0888.
Know the Timeline
On average, the Social Security Administration needs about three to five months to make a decision. This is confirmed both by applicant reports and by the SSA itself. The SSA does note, however, that there are several factors that can affect your wait time.
How to Save Time
If there’s such a large window of time where applications may be approved or denied, how can you speed up the process and get a decision as quickly as possible? There are several things you can do.
First, the Social Security Administration recommends starting the application process online. They note that this is considerably faster than submitting everything in person.
On the same note, make sure you are fully prepared for every appointment you must attend. Ensure that you have your medical records, work logs, and any other evidence you need. Any time you have to send something in later, you set back your application’s consideration date.
Some people rush to submit their applications as soon as possible, believing that this is the best way to speed up their timeline. However, this can actually hurt you. If you submit your application when it isn’t as strong as possible, there’s a good chance that you’ll be denied outright or be required to see one of the SSA’s doctors. In both cases, you significantly extend your wait time. It’s better to spend slightly more time on your application and ensure that it has as much evidence as possible.
You’ll also want to stay on top of your application process and any communication from the SSA. If they request additional information or documentation, submitting it right away is beneficial to your claim.
The Timeline for an Appeal
If you have to go through the appeal process one or more times, you’ll obviously have a longer waiting period. This doesn’t mean that you should give up, though. By responding to denials immediately and requesting an appeal, you can save a considerable amount of time. If you request a reconsideration of your application, plan on spending about three to four months waiting.
Those who have to go further with the appeal process generally wait far longer than those two are approved the first time around or during their reconsideration. Plan on this process taking at least six months, although it could take up to two years depending on the backlog of cases where you are.
How an Attorney Can Help
Hearing that a final decision could take years is disheartening, but you still have a lot of control over the process. If you want to be proactive about your disability application and do everything you can to secure approval, it’s time to talk to a disability lawyer about your options.
A lawyer who works exclusively in disability benefits cases can tell you how long the backlog is in your area, what the timeline is for most clients, and trends they’ve noticed with the SSA. Even better, they can do a thorough review of your application or appeal paperwork.
They can use their expertise to ensure that your application is as strong as possible. This may help you avoid unnecessary denials and get approved more quickly. While you can wait to talk to an attorney until you have been denied, working with one from the very beginning may save you time and bring you peace of mind.
Choose Baker & Baker as You Pursue Disability Benefits
The team at Baker & Baker is here to help you pursue the benefits you deserve. Ready to take the first step? Call us at 850-433-0888 or to schedule a consultation. Wherever you are in the process, we look forward to assisting you.