How long does an application for Social Security disability take and what are the steps?
When you initially file for social security disability and do your application, the first level of that is called the Initial Application. It takes about three to six months to get a decision at that level. If you’re denied at that level, you file what’s called a Request for Reconsideration. The initial level, just under 70% of the people are denied. At the reconsideration level, nationally it is about 89% right now. If you get denied at the reconsideration level, then you file what’s called a Request for Hearing. That moves the file from your local office over to the hearing office where the judges are.
Now that time frame varies from city to city and state to state. It really depends on the backlog in your area. Right now in the city of Tampa, it is about 18 to 22 months to get a hearing. However, over the last 20 years I have seen that range anywhere from five to six months up to two and a half years. It depends on the timing and it depends on the backlog with social security, as to when they can have your hearing held. However, there are ways to try to get that case in front of the judge earlier. We can do what’s called an On the Record Request, where we gather all of your information once the Request for Hearing is filed. We ask the judge, “Can you please look at it without a hearing?” We’re often very successful in that so you don’t have to wait the entire time for a hearing.
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