The average time between filing your claim for disability with the Social Security Administration and receiving a decision isapproximately 3-4 months. However, the majority of first time claims are denied and there are multiple levels of appeal that may be pursued. Many claims require one year or more before they are resolved. In fact, although the SSA provides estimated time guidelines, there is nothing in the regulations requiring a response time and the simple fact is that your claim will take as long as necessary. Experienced disability lawyers in Greensboro NC can, however, offer some perspective on what may cause a decision to be delayed and how best to expedite the processing of your claim.
THE VOLUME OF CASES
The number of first time applicants for disability in a typical year exceeds 2.5 million nationwide. Disability claims examiners handle a heavy workload; consequently, if your case is assigned to an examiner who is overwhelmed with hundreds of cases, you are not going to get a quick answer.
Prior to initiating a medical review, the SSA must determine if the claimant meets basic eligibility requirements. This involves the consideration of factors such as age, employment history and status, marital status and any prior record of receipt of disability benefits.
Although constituting a very small percentage of disability applications, some claimants are so clearly impaired they are almost immediately approved for benefits once their claim is processed. Most claimants’ applications are subject to closer scrutiny, including a review by a medical consultant, to determine if the claimed impairments are consistent with the medical records.
One important factor that can impact the decision process is a delay in receiving the claimant’s medical records. Although an examiner may expeditiously request the relevant medical records, if the medical provider is slow in returning the information, the claim will stall. The examiner may resubmit the request, but disability lawyers in Greensboro NC can explain that this often will not occur for some time subsequent to the initial request.
WAYS TO EXPEDITE YOUR CLAIM
Although many factors may be beyond your control as a claimant, there are things you can do to increase the probability that a timely decision is rendered. For example:
- Be certain your application is complete: fully complete the application to reflect your basic eligibility to receive SSA disability. Include a detailed, accurate and up to date list of all medical providers relevant to your claim. Provide names, addresses, telephone and fax numbers, email addresses and dates of service.
- Consider submitting copies of the medical records with your application: this step alone can save months of turn-around time. Sometimes it may be difficult to obtain the records, and there may be a small charge involved, but the stronger your case for disability is, the more submitting your own records can be of help in an expedited decision.
- Your case may qualify for a Quick Disability Determination: if, based on your initial submissions in your application, the SSA determines you will likely be approved for benefits, your file goes to the QDD department and may be approved in less than one month if the application is complete and your onset date can be easily determined. Expedited decisions are also available under SSA regulations for certain terminal illness applicants and those that qualify under the Compassionate Allowance program.
Contact Disability Lawyers in Greensboro NC for Legal Advice
For most applicants who cannot work because of a mental or physical impairment, finances are tight and receiving disability benefits as soon as possible is critical. To maximize your opportunity for an approval upon initial application or to explore your options on appeal, call the Bridgman Law Offices, disability lawyers in Greensboro NC at (888) 632-9912.