How Long Do People Have To Wait To Get Social Security Disability?

We get asked about wait times often when it comes to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) decisions—and we always tell clients that the time they may have to wait depends on a number of factors, so there’s really no clear-cut waiting period.

Among the items that can affect an SSDI decision are 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 have.

This is why it is so incredibly important to seek representation if you are disabled. Wait times, at the hearing level, can take anywhere from six months to over a year, depending upon a number of factors.

Keep in mind, if you are suffering from a catastrophic disability, you may be eligible for the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program, which expedites benefit decisions for a limited amount of conditions.

Recently, WIVB-TV, of Buffalo, New York, had an interesting story about a woman who had to wait for four years before receiving SSDI. The woman reportedly stopped working in December 2010 due to neck and back injuries—she filed for SSDI in July 2011 and an administrative law judge (ALJ) heard her case in February 2013.

However, according to WIVB, processing times in the Buffalo Office of Disability Adjudication and Review were among the longest in the country, and her judge was at the bottom of the sitting ALJs in her county, forcing her to wait.

Fortunately, the woman was approved for benefits and awarded them retroactive dating back to March 2012, allowing her to receive a lump sum payment of more than two years of funds that included two cost-of-living adjustments.

What Should I Do If My SSDI Case Is taking a Long Time to Process?

Again, if you are experiencing prolonged wait times, call us immediately. We will review your case and determine if there is a course of action that can be taken to speed up your claim. Often, as we will blog about later this week, errors on applications or appeals paperwork result in delays.

Keep in mind, our attorneys collect contingency fees based on whether or not you win your case. For more information, contact us today.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security disability lawyers

Troutman Touts: Oklahoma’s Disability Determination Division (DDD) handles initial applications for SSDI benefits.


    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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