Social Security Disability Benefits: How Long Does It Take for a Decision to Be Made?

When you are ill or injured and unable to work, every week that goes by without a paycheck can be difficult and life-altering.  As such, many people who file for Social Security Disability Benefits are anxious to move through the application process as fast as possible in order to get a quick resolution of their claim.

Unfortunately, the Social Security Disability approval process can drag on for years, leaving injured and disabled workers in limbo until their benefits are approved. There is simply no way to predict how long your case will take, as the government is not bound by any deadlines for processing disability applications.

Likewise, most Social Security Disability cases end up getting denied on the initial application and the first appeal and require an appeal to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in order to successfully obtain benefits. Again, this process can take years, depending on a variety of factors including the number of cases pending before the hearing office you’ve been assigned to, the extent of your disabilities, how quickly you are evaluated, and the quality of the records you and/or your doctors have kept.

Certain Disabilities Offer an Exception to the Rules

There are certain disabilities that will entitle an applicant to a “fast track” of their Social Security Disability Application. If you have a clear diagnosis, your onset of disability date can quickly be determined, and you have complete medical records, it’s possible to receive a decision from the Social Security Administration in as little as 10 days if your disability falls under one of the following programs:


  • The Compassionate Allowances Program —-offers expedited claims for a number of serious and life-threatening medical conditions including ALS and certain cancers. (please change this to link to this site—
  • The Terminal Illness program (so called TERI cases) — is available for people with terminal diseases or who are in hospice.
  • Wounded Warrior cases —–Social Security will expedite a case where the claimant was a military service member who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs. (please make clickable to
  • Veterans Who Have a VA Compensation Rating of 100% P&T—–Starting March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P&T) may receive expedited processing of applications.
  • Individuals applying for SSI can utilize the Presumptive Disability Program which will start paying applicants with certain disabilities monthly SSI benefits for 6 months even before their claim is officially approved..


Working with an Attorney Can Help You Move Through the SSD Process Faster and With Less Stress

Working with an attorney on your Social Security Disability claim is another way to ensure that you are moving through the process as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your attorney can help ensure that you are putting together a strong claim. Remember that incomplete medical records, clerical errors, and filing mistakes are the most common reasons why Social Security Disability Applications are delayed or denied. Your attorney will help ensure this doesn’t happen by working with you to gather and analyze proper records making sure that you have enough expert evidence regarding your condition and that your case is prepared in such a way that meets the specific expectations set forth by the Social Security Administration.

If you have additional questions about fast-tracking your Social Security Disability claim, or you’d like help with the process or appeal, we invite you to contact the Law Office of Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795  to schedule an appointment.

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