The Social Security disability process can be frustrating because it can take so long to get through all the stages. But much of that frustration stems from not knowing what to expect.

The infographic below details each stage of the disability process and gives an average time for a decision at each step.

The disability lawyers at Berger and Green believe that by demystifying the Social Security’s disability timeline, it may ease some of the uncertainty and frustration that people feel when applying for benefits or appealing a decision.

appeals process

Learn How Long It Takes to Get a Decision at Each Stage of the Disability Process

Every case is different, so it is impossible to give an exact amount of time that the process takes. Some of the factors that might affect the time the process takes include:

  • Details of your disability
  • Completeness of your application
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Social Security’s caseload
  • Whether and at what stage your application is approved
  • And much more

So how long does it take the Social Security Administration (SSA) to reach a decision at each stage of the process?

  • Initial Application: 3-6 months
  • Reconsideration: 3-4 months
  • Administrative Law Judge: 18-24 months for the hearing and 45-90 days for the ALJ’s written decision
  • Appeals Council: 15-18 months
  • Federal Lawsuit: 2+ years

(The average times listed above are only estimates. Actual time to reach a decision may vary from case to case.)

Finally, if you are awarded benefits at any stage of the disability timeline, it usually takes about 4-6 weeks for the SSA to calculate your benefit amount and start sending your checks.

Please review the infographic for more details on all the stages of the disability process. If you have any questions, please call us at 412-661-1400.

For a free legal consultation, call (412) 661-1400

Speeding Up the Disability Application Process

You can file a Critical and Dire Need Request if you are experiencing severe financial distress.

Circumstances that may warrant such a request might include an eviction, foreclosure, fatal diagnosis from a doctor, or one’s utilities being turned off. Other circumstances may also justify a Critical and Dire Need Request, so please review your case with a disability lawyer at Berger and Green.

Please note that no lawyer or law firm has the power to speed up the disability application or appeals process. Only the SSA can approve a Critical and Dire Need Request.

Call Now to Start the Social Security Disability Process

The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start helping you with your disability case.

While we cannot speed up your application or appeal, we can help you compile all the evidence and documentation you need and meet all the deadlines, so you do not encounter unnecessary delays.

Please contact us today. Call 412-661-1400 to set up your consultation.

Call or text (412) 661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form