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How long will it take to get Social Security Disability benefits?

Once you find it necessary to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or realize you may meet the eligibility requirements, you probably hope for immediate assistance. However, according to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) 2018 Fiscal Year overview, 605 days was the average waiting time for more than one million people waiting for a hearing request.

Why does it take so long?

With applications often denied, the need to appeal and the government backlog of cases awaiting approval, the approval process is, unfortunately, typically anything but a quick fix for your financial needs. 

Two considerations for the length of the approval process may include:

  • Technology – While beneficial and necessary most of the time, technology may pose a problem for many Americans in need of assistance. An increasing number of recipients benefit from the use of agency computer programs, yet many still wait in line to meet with a customer service representative. For the SSA, cyber threats remain a concern, and technological advances for the platforms serving those receiving benefits often require continual upgrades to best serve the public. However, many experts acknowledge these upgrades may slow systems down throughout the process.
  • Increase in persons served – In October 2017, nearly 67 million people received Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or a combination of the two. That number grew closer to 68 million by October 2018, showing an increase of nearly 1 million people receiving benefits and, therefore, applications processed.

Though the wait is long for many Americans, you may increase your chance for an efficient approval process by talking to someone who understands the Social Security system. Someone with experience in applications and appeals may help you get the disability benefits you need in a shorter period of time.

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