Hurry up and wait is a phrase we have all heard before. But in reality, when filing for Social Security disability, it is usually more the wait than it is the hurry.
So that you better understand what is going on behind the scenes after you file, here is a general timeline to help:
1. File for Social Security disability online. It's the fastest and most reliable way in which to file a claim with the Administration. This will likely only take you about an hour to do so rather than at least four hours if you file at your local field office. After doing so online, you will receive an internet application summary and additional paperwork to sign. Be sure and read everything you receive in the mail and follow instructions carefully. From filing your application to receiving paperwork from SSA, give yourself 30 days.
2. After completing all requirements with your local field office, your case will then be transferred to your state Disability Determination Service (DDS). There, your case will be assigned to a case manager. He or she will request all medical records and oversee the completion of various reports (Work History and Function) you are required to complete and send back in. After all requirements here are met, your case manager will transfer your case to a doctor to review and make a decision. From the time your case is transferred to DDS and until you receive an answer, give it at least 4 or 5 months.
3. If your case is denied or approved, once it leaves DDS and comes back to your local field office, give it at least another 30 days to receive correspondence from SSA.
4. If your case is denied, then immediately file for a reconsideration. Give yourself at least another 30 to 60 days for your case to be transferred back from the local field office back to DDS. From there, your case will be assigned another case manager.
5. Once your reconsideration is returned to DDS for another review, you'll need to give yourself at least another 4 months.
6. If your case is denied again, then you will have to appeal once again to have a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Depending upon where you live, it could take from 12 to 24 months before your case is scheduled for a hearing.
7. Once the ALJ hears your case, it will take at least another 90 to 120 days to issue a decision.
8. If the ALJ denies your case, you may appeal to the Appeals Council (AC), and an answer to your appeal will usually take 12 to 18 months.
9. If the ALJ approves your case, then you should give it at least another 30 to 60 days for SSA to process your back pay and get your monthly benefits started.
10. If the AC approves your appeal and remands the case back to the ALJ, give it at least 6 months to be scheduled for another hearing.
11. If the AC denies to review your case, your last option is to take your case to federal court. If you do decide to file a complaint and sue the Commissioner of Social Security, give yourself at least another 18 months.
As you can see, this process takes a very long time, even when your case is successful.
We help claimants throughout Texas and Oklahoma fighting for their Social Security disability rights. If you need help, please feel free to contact us at: (888) 780-9125.