When you’re unable to work due to a disability and you’ve filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, waiting for a decision on your claim can be inherently stressful.
Unfortunately, you may not get an answer very quickly. While there are some exceptions that allow for expedited claims, the vast majority of applicants won’t qualify for that process. Instead, you can generally expect the following.
Around seven months for an initial claim
According to the Social Security Administration, it takes between three and five months to get a decision on your application when you first file – but the average wait time lately is around seven months and 13 days. Contrary to popular belief, not all claims are denied the first time; roughly 38% of initial claims will be approved.
More than a year for a reconsideration
Only about half of the people who are denied benefits at the first stage of the process go on to file a reconsideration request. The process for a reconsideration is essentially the same as that for an initial application, and almost as slow. Applicants will have waited an average of 13 months and 11 days since they filed their initial claim to get an answer, and only 15% will have their claims approved.
More than two years for a hearing
Of those who persevered through the first two initial stages only to have their claims denied, 77% will appeal again and ask for a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) so they can plead their cases in person. While they enjoy good odds (roughly 51% who take this step will ultimately win their case), their complete journey from the initial application to approval will be an average of two years, four months and 16 days long.
These lengthy wait times can be hard to endure, which makes it critically important to do everything in your power to get your claim approved at the start of this process. Seeking experienced legal guidance can help to ensure that your claim benefits from the best possible chances of being approved “from go.”