How Long Does It Take To Get On Social Security Disability?

Jun 28, 2011 No Comments by

Question: How long does it take to get on Social Security disability?

Answer: You can be approved for Social Security disability benefits within a few days of filing your claim or you can be filing claims and appeals for years and never get approved.

That’s the only accurate answer but it doesn’t tell you much, does it? Let me explain a bit.

First, you don’t want to be one of the people who gets approved within days of filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits because those folks are generally suffering from something truly devastating, such as terminal cancer or a stroke that leaves a person in a chronic, vegetative state.

Second, you also don’t want to be one of those who keeps getting denied again and again. Mostly, people who keep getting denied again and again, not just for two or three years but for five or six years or more, just have cases that are hard to win — weak cases — or they are people who keep running into bad luck with Social Security. It happens.

Let’s talk about people who have reasonable cases and who don’t run into bad luck at Social Security. Let’s talk about the various levels and your chances of success and the time frames:

  • Initial — chance of success about 30%, length of time two to nine months
  • Reconsideration — chance of success about 10%, length of time two to six months
  • Hearing before Administrative Law Judge — chance of success about 60%, length of time six months to a year
  • Appeals Council — chance of winning outright about 5%, chance of getting case sent back for new hearing, about 20%, length of time two months to two years

You can go beyond the Appeals Council to United States District Court but let’s limit this to Social Security.

You should also be aware that you may have to go through this process more than once to finally win but, at least, you don’t have to wait for the Appeals Council to deny you before you start a new claim. Once a Social Security judge denies you, you can start a new claim, even as you appeal to the Appeals Council.

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About the author

Charles Hall is the lead attorney for the Charles Hall Law Firm in Raleigh, NC. He has been practicing in the Social Security Disability law field since 1979, is published, and is ready to help new clients win their benefits in North Carolina.