Most people have very little savings, which means they can’t support themselves and their families without their next paycheck. If they can’t work, their stability is at risk. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a crucial social safety net.
Working adults who become ill or suffer serious injuries can file a claim for benefits that will replace their income from employment. Your income may dry up immediately after your diagnosis with a severe condition or your injuries suffered from a car crash. However, it will take some time to get SSDI benefits when you apply.
Understanding that there will likely be a wait can help you plan carefully so that you don’t overextend yourself financially before you receive SSDI benefits. How long does an approved claim take?
Every case is different
Some people may qualify for automated fast-track processing because they have a severe medical condition and more than enough documentation in their application. Others will require personal review by a staff member before they can get the benefits.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates a wait time of three to five months on average for those getting benefits due to an immediately approved claim. Still, a significant number of applicants get rejected at first and have to appeal. That process will increase how long you wait.
The appeals process varies in length
There are many different stages of SSDI appeals. Sometimes, you can ask for a reconsideration and get your benefits a few weeks later. Other times, the reconsideration will not result in an approval, so you will have to wait for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, which could take over a year.
The SSA office processing your claim will determine how long you likely wait for that hearing. The Evansville office averages a five-month wait time for a hearing, while the Peoria office averages 6.5 months. Overall, this is lower than what you see in many other states or even in Chicago, where the average wait time is eight months.
Thankfully, if the judge approves you and you do get benefits, you can potentially receive SSDI benefits going back to the date that you first applied or qualified after your application. Learning more about the process of obtaining SSDI benefits can help you set reasonable expectations for this sometimes complex process. Contact an attorney familiar with the process to learn your options.