It’s hard to give anyone a timeline for when they can receive Social Security Disability benefits after applying. Answering the question of “how fast can you get Social Security Disability?” depends on a broad range of variables.

It’s important to know that the Social Security Administration
(SSA) is not required to follow a deadline. Decision times typically depend on these factors:

  • Are you at the initial application stage, or have you appealed?
  • The U.S. state you live in and the length of the backlog at your hearing office.
  • How quickly you or your doctors provide the necessary medical records.
  • Whether your case is pulled for a quality review.
  • Whether your case can be expedited.

Call the number above to speak with a disability expert today to make sure your application is filed correctly to avoid any delay. We can take care of all the paperwork and provide updates as your case moves along the approval process.

The Timeline of Waiting to Get Social Security Disability

Be aware of these milestones in the process of applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

The Application Process

From the application date, it takes Disability Determination Services (DDS) about three to four months to decide on an initial application.


The wait time for a reconsideration of your initial denial — the first step of an appeal — is about three to four months from the date you file your request.

Hearing Level

The total decision time for cases at the hearing level includes the time from when a hearing is requested to when the administrative law judge issues an opinion. Total decision times currently range from eight months to 22 months.

Appeals Council

If the administrative law judge denies your claim, you have the option to appeal the decision to the Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council decides to review your claim, it can take up to one year to receive the decision. The length of time it takes the Appeals Council to reach a decision depends on:

  • How many decision-makers are available.
  • The size of the caseload.
  • How much evidence you have in your case.
  • How complex your case is.

Federal Appeal

If the Appeals Council denies your request for review or determines that the administrative law judge’s decision was correct, you can appeal the decision to federal district court. The length of time it takes the federal district court to decide an appeal is about eight months from the date the appeal was filed.

Expedited Claims

There are two types of claims that qualify for expedited processing. The first is Compassionate Allowance claims.

If an individual suffers from one of a limited list of diseases, illnesses, or injuries from which no recovery can be expected — either due to the condition itself or due to the advanced stage of the condition — special evidence will apply.

Because these conditions have been found to meet disability requirements under the Listing of Impairments these claims are fast-tracked and require minimal confirming information for approval. Examples of such conditions are very advanced untreatable cancers and paralyzing spinal cord injuries.

The second type of claim that can be expedited are ones where the claimant is likely disabled and support is medical evidence is readily available. These claims are automatically fast-tracked for a quick disability decision, which is often completed in less than a month.

How Does Having An Attorney Help?

Having an attorney cannot make the Social Security Administration arrive on a decision for your claim faster. But, an attorney can sometimes file a request for an off-the-record decision or an attorney adviser opinion.

If the request is successful, you may be able to get a positive decision before having to go to a disability hearing. Also, statistics show that if you have an attorney, you are more likely to be approved for benefits.

If you want to speak to an experienced disability attorney about the time it will take for you to receive your benefits, or any other SSD questions, call us today at the number above! Our team is available to help you navigate the timeline of receiving Social Security Disability benefits.