How Long Will It Take to Get My Social Security Disability Benefits in Waco?

Because of the current backlog of disability cases before the Social Security Administration (SSA), the question of how long it takes to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits is not easy to answer, for a variety of reasons. The standard amount of time you should expect your case to take is roughly 18 months to go from initial application to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing.

Social Security Disability and SSI claims can be won in as few as 30 days, or they can take as long as two years to win benefits. There’s no real way to predict how long your case will take because it’s unique. Unlike other government programs, the Social Security Disability program doesn’t have deadlines for applications (though you only have 60 days to appeal from date you receive a denial letter, if you’re denied).

On the average, a decision for your initial disability claim will most likely take three to four months, and a reconsideration (the first level of appeal) takes about the same amount of time. But, your case could be decided much sooner or much later since every individual case is unique.

If you’re denied at the reconsideration level, you can appeal for a hearing before an ALJ. However, this usually takes much longer since a hearing must be scheduled. In most cases, this can take six months or longer (and in some areas, the wait is as long as 18 months), but, it all depends on the number of cases pending at the hearing office, which varies considerably depending on where you live.

In many parts of the country, the Social Security initial application and appeals process takes longer than average. Why does this happen? Part of the reason is most likely due to a sharp increase in disability cases, which may be a factor of the changing economy and/or America’s aging population. It can be hard not knowing when you’ll get an answer. You’re not working, you’re struggling to make ends meet and may be worried about keeping the lights on or putting food on the table. That means waiting for disability benefits can be a challenge, but we’ll do everything we can to make sure your claim is pushed through the disability system as quickly as possible.

In most cases, if you have a very severe injury or illness with the right amount of medical evidence, you may be able to get a quicker decision through one of Social Security’s expedited disability benefit programs such as:

  • The Quick Disability Determination program. This program identifies straightforward and easily determined disability cases through a software program developed by the SSA.
  • The Compassionate Allowances program. This program is available for many cancers and some other illnesses that are easily diagnosed and assessed by your doctors.
  • The Terminal Illness program, or TERI, is available for those with terminal illnesses or those who are in hospice.
  • The Presumptive Disability program. This program, for SSI only, gives applicants with certain conditions monthly SSI benefits even before their disability claim is approved or denied.

If you need help applying for disability benefits or fighting a denial in the Waco area, call Merryl Jones today.

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