The Wait for Disability Benefits
There is no doubt about it. Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a complex process – and it’s long. I know that it seems unfair to ask someone who is not well and who may be facing financial troubles, to also be patient about when to expect a decision on their disability claim. Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to make the Social Security Administration (SSA) move any faster on making a decision on a disability claim, unless it is for someone who has a disability that meets SSA’s Compassionate Allowance conditions.
The average wait time for an initial decision is three to six months. In some state Disability Determination Service (DDS) offices, claims at the reconsideration level of the appeals process are backed up six months. At the hearing level, the wait could be as long as a year or more to get scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge. In fact, the average wait time at the hearing level is 441 days. It’s not a good situation.
I do want our claimants to know that our Advocates stay on top of the Social Security Administration. We also stay in touch with our claimants as much as we can. Our purpose is to help support our claimants through the entire application process – all the way to getting approved.
One thing I would suggest is that if you have filed a disability claim with us, or even on your own, you should keep a backup file of all your medical, financial and personal information close at hand and up-to-date. Maybe even let a trusted friend or relative know about the file.
Another thing you can do that may help calm the wait if you have a disability claim with us is to go to Freedom Square, our portal Web site. This is an exclusive site for our customers. There you can track the progress of your claim so that you know exactly where your claim stands in the approval process. You can also direct-message to your Advocate by e-mail. Your Advocate will respond to your questions as quickly as possible. To get to Freedom Square, click on the Freedom Square logo at the top of the Freedom Disability Web site home page. (www.freedomdisability.com)
We are trying everything we can to help our claimants negotiate through the application process. The only thing we can’t find is that magic potion to speed things up with SSA.