The social security disability claims process can be a challenge to get through in many cases, and determining the timeline is also often difficult. While the steps taken to apply for both Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are essentially identical, the specific steps that individuals need to take will vary from case to case, depending on the speed of approval.

The overall timeline of the approval process will be based on the following elements involved.

Applying for Benefits

The application process for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or SSI benefits begins with an application, which the Social Security Administration will either approve or deny. It typically takes anywhere from three to six months for a reviewer with the Disability Determination Service (DDS) to perform a case evaluation and make a decision.

Reconsideration Following a Denial

If the SSA chooses to deny the application, individuals have another 6t0 days to request reconsideration for their case. During this time, another DDS reviewer will take a second look at the application and make a decision after around three to four months of the initial request.

Hearing with an Administrative Law Judge

If a disability claim is denied after reconsideration, individuals can request a hearing with an administrative law judge within 60 days of the denial. The hearing can take a long time to occur, with a waiting period of around 18 to 24 months, followed by another 45 to 95 days for the judge to make a decision.

Review with the Appeals Council

If an administrative law judge denies the claim, applicants have another 60 days to request an Appeals Council review, which normally takes another 15 to 18 months before they reach a decision.

File a Lawsuit with the Federal District Court

If the Appeals Council denies the application, applicants then have 60 days to file a federal claim to overrule the decision. The Federal District Court will then decide whether to approve or deny the claim or send it back for additional review. This process can take as long as two years before a decision is made.

Reception of Benefits

Once a disability claim is approved, it takes little time to begin receiving benefits, with a waiting period of no more than four to six weeks in most cases.

Depending on what it takes to get approved for benefits, the timeline for disability claims can be as brief as a few months to as long as several years.