The waiting game can be a long one when seeking Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. Even so, you must not procrastinate when applying for these crucial benefits to help you and your family. Because your medical condition may prevent you from working for a least a year or even the rest of your life, you need that money.
At a minimum, you likely must wait eight months from the time you apply for the benefits until the time you receive them. However, you must understand that it may take more than a year, too. And during that time, the chances that the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies your claim are pretty good. But why does it take so long? And what kind of timeline can you expect?
The steps in the waiting game
The wheels of the U.S. government are slow to turn. Here is what you may expect regarding the length of time it takes before receiving SSD benefits:
- Once you apply, the waiting begins. The government typically takes its three to five months before making decisions on the cases of individual applicants. If the SSA determines that you qualify, then you must wait a mandatory five months before receiving the benefits.
- An estimated two-thirds of all SSD applications are denied. This plays another factor in the waiting game. You have a 60-day deadline to file an appeal, so make sure to do so right away. And remember, most appeals are successful.
- If you appealed your case, an administrative law judge resides over it. The judge listens to evidence and makes the decisions. However, the judge may take one to three months before making that decision.
- When a judge rules in your favor on appeal, you will receive the benefits. But not right away. You must wait five months. The SSA subscribes to a cautious approach in all its cases. A qualifying applicant does not receive any benefits until the government determines that he or she has been disabled for five consecutive months.
During this difficult time, perhaps your patience has come to a near end. But please, dig down deep into yourself and find that extra patience when waiting to hear word about SSD benefits. You will be glad that you did.