Waiting for Disability Benefits Takes Years for Some

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can involve multiple steps and a lengthy wait time. For initial applicants, SS staff approves only about a third of them. It may take up to a half year to hear the results of the first step. For those denied, there is an appeals process, starting with an appeal to another SS staff member. This first level of appeal may take another six months.

After that, a person can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ), which may take a year or longer to get. Finally, an applicant can appeal to an appeals council or, at the last level, a federal appeals court, both of which may add years to an SSDI application.

In reality, however, most applications do not get to the final two stages of appeal, where it becomes increasingly difficult to receive a decision in favor of the applicant. A Tulsa Social Security disability attorney can assist applicants in navigating the SSDI application process.

According to a 2010 study, the 10 states with the longest wait times for SSDI applicants are: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and Wisconsin.

Oklahoma is one of the 10 states with the shortest SSDI wait times. In 2010 in Oklahoma, there were nearly 14,000 SSDI claims pending at the first and second levels. There were just over 12,000 pending at the third level, waiting for a hearing in front of an ALJ. The average wait time for those pending at the third level is about a year. Further information about SSDI applications is available from a Tulsa Social Security disability lawyer.

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