Merger Announcement
Bowman Disability Law and the O'Neil Disability Group are combining to form the O'Neil and Bowman Disability Group


How Long Does It Take to Get Disability Benefits?

Applying and qualifying for Social Security disability benefits is often a long and frustrating process. It generally takes four to six months to receive benefits. However, if your initial claims are denied, it takes an extra 6 to 8 months on average to get a hearing as part of the appeals process. Even if you win your appeal, two years may have passed since you first submitted your application.

Disability Claims’ Timeline

To qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits, you must have a medical condition that has, or is expected to, render you unable to work for at least 12 months or is expected to result in your death. This stipulation causes many disabled individuals to wait a full year after leaving work to apply for disability benefits.

Because of the potential for long wait times, we encourage clients to apply for their disability benefits as soon as possible. Our expertise helps clients gather and file their applications quickly. Plus, our knowledge and guidance gives you the best possible chance of having your claim approved the first time. As a result, you shouldn’t have to wait through the lengthy appeals process to get the benefits you deserve.

After submitting your application, the Social Security Administration (SSA) generally takes three to five months to provide a disability determination letter. If your claim is approved, expect to wait at least a month more to receive your first payment.

If your claim is denied, you’ll need to make a stronger case to appeal the decision. Proving disability can be a challenge, especially for conditions without obvious symptoms. Medical records are always the best pieces of evidence, but even those can be unclear for some mental disorders and even physical symptoms like pain. Gathering more evidence, then completing and filing your appeal can take a month or more.

Once you submit your appeal, you’ll need to wait for a hearing. The average wait time for a hearing is 6 to 8 months. During COVID, hearings take place over the phone. This has helped to cut wait times for many of our clients. Thankfully, you should receive a decision within a few weeks after your hearing. And, if your appeal is successful, you should receive your first payment about a month later.

Back Pay

If you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you can receive back pay for up to a year prior to your application date. For Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you can only receive back pay dating back to the month after you apply. If you are eligible for back pay, you will typically receive it in a lump sum a month or two after you receive your first benefits payment.

Compassionate Allowances

Some cancers, adult brain disorders, and rare disorders that affect children qualify as Compassionate Allowances. Individuals with these conditions may only have to wait weeks for a decision after submitting their application. If their application gets approved, they will still have to wait a month or more before receiving their first payment.

Getting Help

As you can see, filing for Social Security disability benefits can take months or even years. As one of the leading Social Security disability lawyers in Virginia Beach, we work hard to get our clients their benefits as quickly as possible. We know exactly what the SSA looks for on applications and will give you the best possible chance of a successful claim. Reach out to us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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