Many factors can affect claim processing speed

One question that permanent disability attorneys Oak Lawn frequently are asked is how long Social Security Disability claim processing takes. According to the Social Security Administration, in the 2014 fiscal year, the average processing time for all SSD and Supplemental Security Income claims was 110 days. However, many factors can result in longer processing times for individual claims.

External factors

Administrative issues can slow the processing of an SSD claim. For example, if a claim is assigned to an examiner with a significant workload, the claim evaluation may be delayed. If a claims examiner has trouble finding necessary information or obtaining proper documentation, the examiner may also need more time to reach a final decision

The nature and severity of the condition can affect how quickly an SSD claim is processed. Any permanent disability attorneys in Oak Lawn can explain that the SSA considers some conditions more severe or obviously disabling than others. For instance, proving a condition such as statutory blindness is disabling may be relatively straightforward.

In contrast, establishing the legitimacy or impact of less obvious conditions, from mental disorders to back injuries, can be challenging. A claims examiner may need more time to review a claim involving one of these conditions.

Proactive measures

Applicants can take a few steps to improve the likelihood of faster claim processing. Applicants should provide extensive documentation of the condition, from medical records to professional evaluations. Applicants should also provide information about their education and work history. The SSA may need this if the disabling condition still permits limited forms of work.

Applicants should also supply current contact information for themselves, the treating medical professionals and any other sources referenced in the application. This ensures the claims examiner can easily secure needed documentation or information from these sources.

Applicants also can check whether they qualify for expedited processing. The SSA offers quicker processing in various circumstances:

  • The Compassionate Allowances program provides faster processing for over 200 serious conditions that are usually found disabling.
  • The terminal illness program allows expedited processing if a condition is expected to result in death or if the applicant is receiving hospice care.
  • Expedited claim processing is available to veterans who were hurt while on active duty on or after Oct. 1, 2001.
  • Applicants experiencing severe financial hardship, such as eviction or inability to pay for medical treatment, may qualify for faster processing as “dire need” cases.

To receive expedited processing in most of these situations, applicants must specify in the claim that they qualify for faster processing. Thus, applicants should carefully review these programs or consult with permanent disability attorneys in Oak Lawn before filing their claims.