Making the decision to file for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits wasn’t easy, but what else could you do? You’ve worked as long as possible despite your condition – but you can’t do it any longer.
So, you contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) and filed your claim – and then you waited. A couple months have passed, but you’re still waiting on a decision. Is this normal? Is something wrong? Did your claim get lost in the shuffle somewhere?
Wait times can be months – or years – depending on the situation
Unfortunately, this is the norm facing almost every SSDI applicant. Aside from a few people with terminal conditions or conditions so severe that there’s no question that they’re automatically disabled, the approval process for a disability claim takes a significant amount of time. Some waits can be longer than others, depending on what stage of the claims process you’re in.
In 2021, for example, people who filed their initial application for benefits were waiting an average of 169 days – more than five months – to get a decision. More often than not, that decision will come back as a denial.
Once a claim is initially denied, you can file a Request for a Reconsideration, which essentially asks SSA to take another look. Usually, you can expect a similar wait this second time around. If your claim is approved at this level of appeal, your wait will be over — but those forced to appeal their claims a second time via a Request for a Hearing have to settle in for a much longer process.
As of October 2022, if your case goes to a Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the average wait time in Oklahoma before you even see the judge is approximately 11 months.
The extensive wait for decisions on SSDI claims is why it’s so important to make sure that you get your application for benefits right the first time – or on the first appeal. Find out how experienced legal guidance can help.