Why do I have to wait so long for a Social Security disability determination?
You have applied for Social Security disability benefits and you have not heard anything about whether your application has been approved. You are anxious to know the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) decision, but months have gone by and you still don’t know whether you are eligible for benefits.
According to the SSA, it takes an average of three to five months to receive a decision on Social Security disability eligibility. This can be frustrating, but it is important to know what is going on with your case and what you can do to make sure that your case is decided as quickly as possible.
What Happens After You Submit Your Social Security Disability Application
Your Social Security disability application has a long road to travel once you have submitted it. Here are some of the key steps in determining disability:
- Typically, your application will be initially processed by a representative in your local SSA field office. He or she will verify your age, employment record, marital status, SSA coverage information, and any other non-medical eligibility requirements.
- The application is then sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state, where your medical evidence will be evaluated. This begins with collecting information from the medical sources you have provided.
- If the information you have provided is incomplete or inadequate, the DDS office will arrange for you to have a consultative examination (CE) to gather additional information. The SSA prefers that your own medical sources conduct the CE, but if this does not work, you will be sent to an independent source chosen by the SSA.
- After your medical evidence has been assessed, the DDS office will return your case to the local field office. If it has been determined that you are, indeed, disabled under SSA guidelines, your benefits will be calculated and payments will begin. If, however, the DDS office finds that you are not disabled under the guidelines, the field office will retain your case file in case you choose to appeal the decision.
How to Prevent Unnecessary Delays With Your Social Security Disability Claim
You can prevent unnecessary delays with your application by working with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer who can:
- Evaluate your medical evidence, help you to fill in any gaps, and make sure DDS has the most complete records possible.
- Check the status of your claim.
- Appeal a denial of benefits quickly and efficiently.
If you have applied for Social Security disability in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, or New Hampshire and it seems like you will never get an answer, call Keefe Disability Law today. We would be pleased to provide you with a free consultation and to talk about how we may be able to help you get the Social Security disability benefits that you deserve.