What is the Average Wait Time for a Social Security Disability Decision?

What is the Average Wait Time for a Social Security Disability Decision?

With Social Security Disability benefits coming in, you can rest easier about your daily expenses when you can’t work.

But getting disability income takes patience.

Here’s a basic idea of the time you can expect to wait:

  • Social Security says it takes three to five months to get an initial decision about your disability application.
  • If you’re denied benefits and need to appeal, the wait gets longer. In 2019, for example, it took on average 13 months for people in Michigan to get hearings with disability judges, which is a major step in appeals. The average wait time for a Social Security Disability hearing in Ohio stretched longer than 15 months.
  • SSD also has a five-month wait built into its process. That means Social Security says you can begin receiving monthly disability income five months after the date that it determines your disability began. But because of the long waits, many people already have passed five months by the time they get their benefits approval. They’ll get credit for the time they’ve already waited and not have to wait another five months.
  • When you qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you also qualify for Medicare health coverage, which you otherwise can’t get until you reach retirement age. But there’s a wait for that, too: 24 months from when you officially qualified for disability benefits.

It can be a long process, but at least you don’t have to go through it alone.

Levine Benjamin Law Firm stands by your side, making applying for disability as smooth as possible in Detroit, Toledo, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids and every community in our area.

From applying to appealing, we help you every step of the way.

Keep reading for more about what happens as you wait for disability benefits.

What would you like to do?

Waiting for Disability Income Does Have One Benefit

When you can’t work because of serious health problems, you need financial support now.

Having to wait doesn’t seem to have an upside.

But Social Security does do one thing to recognize the time it takes to get your benefits approved: It awards back benefits.

That means when you get approved, you get a lump sum check to compensate you for the months—or longer—that you waited for your benefits after the date Social Security established as the onset of your disability.

This is one reason you should apply for benefits as soon as you know your medical conditions will put you out of work: The earlier you start, the earlier your onset date can be and the more potential back benefits you can collect.

With Levine Benjamin, you can start with a FREE EVALUATION to determine if you qualify for disability.


How to Stay Financially Afloat while You Wait for Disability Benefits

Back benefits may be nice, but what can you do to survive when your health is bad and your income has stopped?

Depending on your situation you can consider these options:

  • Working a Small Amount: You can work a limited amount and still qualify for benefits, as long as your income doesn’t go too high.
  • Look for State Disability Benefits: Your state government may have a disability program that could award you benefits while you wait for your federal, Social Security benefits.
  • Apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP): When your income has disappeared, you can get help paying for food.
  • Utility Relief: Utility companies sometimes offer breaks on your bills when you can’t pay them like you once did.
  • Retirement Savings: You could tap into your retirement savings, such as 401(k) plans, to cover your urgent bills, though you may want to save this as a last resort.
  • Borrowing: Refinancing your home, using credit cards or borrowing from friends or family can also be last-resort options.

This is a time when you really need support, someone to help you over the hurdles you face.

When it comes to getting disability benefits, lawyers from Levine Benjamin Law Firm fight hard for you—no matter how long it takes. We don’t charge an attorney fee until you win benefits.

Above all, we want to see you reach a better time in life.

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