What Factors Influence Social Security Disability Waiting Periods?

As we have reported several times in our blog, the backlog to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is long and it can take several months to receive a decision about eligibility.

Waiting periods vary depending on a number of factors including the stage you are at in the process (application or appeal), which state you live in, how quickly you can produce medical records and whether your case is expedited due to the type of disability you may have.

The process can be slow moving—typically, when an application is denied, a person has 60 days to file for reconsideration. This can take several months—if the reconsideration is denied, a person then has to wait another 60 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge, which in some areas, has kept people waiting for 19 months.

Recently, the Orange County Register had a story about the waiting periods and one woman’s plight. The news source spoke to Sally Greer, who waited 18 months for an SSDI decision. She suffered from respiratory problems and can no longer work, however her healthcare providers could not figure out what she was suffering from, causing delays with her application.

“The doctors kept scratching their heads,” Greer told the Register. “They thought maybe it was congestive heart failure. My lungs and heart were compromised. My back was disintegrating.”

While doctors tried to figure out what was wrong with her, Greer’s initial SSDI claim was denied. She then hired an attorney who began to push her case through until her claim was approved.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability

To qualify for benefits you need to have earned work credits, meaning it is not an entitlement program. For further information on qualifications, we suggest you visit our FAQ page. As Greer’s case shows, often working with an attorney can help improve your chances to receive approval.

Remember, you need to show that your condition will last longer than 12 months and could potentially result in your death in order to qualify for SSDI benefits. If you have a serious illness, the Social Security Administration offers a “compassionate allowances” program, which provides a fast-track application process for disability benefits. This is very beneficial for people who are suffering from grave illnesses like cancer.

Waiting periods are an important reminder as to why it is important to seek representation if you are disabled and need to apply for benefits. Our attorneys understand the SSDI appeals process and can walk you through each step.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability attorneys


    I didn't think there was a caring professional considerate attorney firm on the planet, but Troutman & Troutman proved me wrong. From the receptionist to the legal assistance to the attorney and more they were exceptional people.

    - Robert S.

    They did a fantastic job getting everything gathered up and getting the trial done as quickly as possible. Anytime I had a question they were patient and help me understand what was going on. Especially Christy and Charlie were great.

    - Michael M.

    Steve Troutman was able to get my short-term and long-term disability for me. Then Erin another lawyer for their firm got my Social security disability for me. Great people.

    - Billy S.

    Mr. Troutman walked me through the entire process. Heather was available each time I called, answered all my crazy questions, and helped me fill out forms along the way. I was never treated like I was wasting time.

    - Julia C.

    Erin and Keith were fabulous! They were compassionate, helpful, and very responsive! They made the process very smooth and painless every step of the way.

    - Valerie W.

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