How Long Does the Social Security Disability Process Take?
Perhaps the most pressing question by most of those who have applied for Social Security Disability is how long the process will take. Having an experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer to help you through the process can make a significant difference in the outcome of your SSD application—and can help you better understand the timeline involved.
Ohio lands almost exactly in the middle as far as the best and worst states to obtain SSD (Kansas is the best, Oklahoma is the worst). This is relatively good news for those applying for Ohio SSD in Toledo. A knowledgeable SSD attorney from Schaffer & Associates, LPA can significantly relieve the stress associated with filing for SSD. We know all the ins and outs of the system and will ensure your application has the best chance of success!
What are the Basics Regarding Ohio Social Security Disability?
Of course, if you are applying for SSD benefits, it is likely you desperately need the financial assistance, so waiting can be agonizing. You can apply for SSD at your local Social Security office or by telephone. Either of these options will take at least an hour. If you want to speed up the process, you can complete the application for benefits and the disability report online by going here.
You may still have a scheduled appointment with your local SS office, so a representative can review your information. If you bring all the required documents to your appointment, this will also speed up the process. Social Security has a very strict definition of disability and does not deal in partial disability. To be found disabled, you must:
- Be unable to engage in substantial work due to your disability, and
- Have a medical condition that has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or have a medical condition that is expected to result in death.
Simply because your medical doctor says you are disabled, this does not automatically qualify you for Social Security disability.
What Does the Approval Process for SSD Look Like?
After you have filed your initial SSD application, you will wait for a determination—usually about 3-5 months. The time required for an initial determination depends on how complete your application is, how quickly your doctors respond to requests for medical records, and how long it takes the SSA to obtain any additional information required for a determination. If your application is denied, you can ask for a reconsideration, which takes another 3-5 months. Although virtually the same people conduct the reconsideration, some applications are approved during this stage.
If you are denied during reconsideration, you can file an appeal, asking to be heard before an Administrative Law Judge. Although this stage has one of the longest waits (10 months to 2 years), you also have the highest chance of being approved at this level. (The SSA estimates that approximately 50 percent of disability awards occur at this ALJ appeal). If you are not approved at this level, you have two more appeals. Although the entire process certainly takes a significant amount of time, you will receive back pay if you are eventually awarded SSD benefits.
Do SSD Approvals Take Longer Than Denials?
According to Disability Secrets, there is little difference in the amount of time it takes to either be approved or denied after you file your initial application. On the other hand, there did appear to be a difference in how long it takes to receive an approval or denial following an appeal. For those who were approved at the appeal state, the decision took about seven weeks. Those who were denied waited about ten weeks for the bad news. The likely reason for this difference is that a written decision for a denial of benefits must be much more detailed than an approval decision.
What is the Appeal Process If My SSD Claim is Denied?
As noted above, if your original application is denied, and your reconsideration request is denied, you can appeal and your case will be heard before an Administrative Law Judge. If your benefits are denied at this state, you can ask for a review by the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council agrees to review your case, it will either decide your request for review or send it back to an Administrative Law Judge for further review. If you are denied at this level, you have one more appeal—a Federal Court review.
What is an Expedited Decision in an SSD Claim?
There are certain instances where your disability claim could be processed more quickly. If you have a serious health issue and little to no income, you may qualify under one of the six types of critical cases:
- You are a disabled military veteran who has received a 100 percent permanent and total disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- You have an illness that is considered terminal (expected to end in death, irreversible, and untreatable).
- You are considered at risk for suicide or a homicidal action due to your disability and lack of funds.
- You are currently without shelter, medical care, and/or food, so are considered a Dire Need Case.
- You are a current or former member of the military who suffered an injury, wound, or illness during active duty (Wounded Warrior).
- You qualify for a Compassionate Allowance because you have a condition that fully meets specific medical criteria as set forth by the SSA.
How Can a Toledo Social Security Disability Lawyer Help?
As you can see, the Social Security Disability process can be arduous and stressful. Schaffer & Associates, LPA want to help you through this difficult time. We understand you are disabled and unable to work and that your financial position is precarious. Our highly experienced SSD attorneys will work hard on your behalf to speed up the process in any way possible and will use all our knowledge and skills for a positive outcome. Contact Schaffer & Associates, LPA today!