How to Handle Long Waits for Social Security Disability

You could give the best years of your life to a single company, never wavering in your dedication and hard work, but if you suffer a disability you’re essentially on your own.

Fortunately, you might qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.

After applying, though, you’ll quickly learn that SSD wait times can be extensive. If you’re asking yourself how long it takes to win SSD benefits, there are a few factors to know.


When filing for SSD benefits, it’s important to understand that there is no timeline set in stone.

Whether you’re filing for the first time or appealing through a lawyer, your experience will vary from just about every other person’s. For your initial claim, though, you should expect to wait at least one month. Some individuals even end up waiting three months simply for a first decision.

One of the biggest factors that will dictate how long you wait for disability benefits is where you live.

Busier local offices will obviously take longer to hand down a decision. Individuals in Lansing, Mich., for instance, wait an average of 17 months before their hearing.

Having a Social Security Disability lawyer may help speed things along, so speak with an attorney before filing an appeal. A lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that extend the wait even longer.


If you receive a denial letter after waiting for disability benefits, it’s important to read it carefully. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will detail exactly why your claim was denied.

Sometimes it’s as simple as the need for more medical documentation. Whatever the case, you have the opportunity to appeal. But you also have a 60-day deadline to meet. So you’ll want to get legal help as quickly as possible.

Even if the SSA says your disability isn’t eligible for benefits, you should still consider an appeal. This is because you may be granted a medical vocational allowance if you can show your particular disability is preventing you from working.

Unfortunately, the multiple-stage appeals process could leave you waiting for a long, trying time. Some people end up waiting two years just for an appeals hearing.

You have some options, however, for keeping your head above water in the meantime.


How do you pay the bills when you’re unable to work and waiting for your benefits?

You may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation if your disability resulted from an on-the-job injury.

If you don’t qualify for workers’ compensation, local social services departments are often willing to help while you’re waiting for disability benefits.

The main goal, however, is to get through the appeals process as quickly as possible.

By meeting all of the deadlines, hanging on to your medical records and seeking out a Social Security Disability lawyer for advice, you can do just that.

The variance in SSD wait times can make calculating when you’ll receive benefits a daunting task.

This is why the attorneys at Levine Benjamin will do everything in their power to get your claim approved quickly.


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