One of the first questions potential claimants ask me is how long will it take to get my Social Security Disability ("SSD") claim approved. My answer used to be, an average of 7 months for the initial decision, and another 6 months to a year if the claim is initially denied.
The answer now is quite different. As reported in the Washington Post, SSD claims now take an average of 109 days at the initial application. The denial rate is 68%. In New York, the claim is appealed and transferred to the Office of Adjudication and Review, where it takes an average of a year before a decision is made. If the claim is denied at a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge, the next step in the appeal process is with the Appeals Council. The decision at this level takes an average of 374 days.
Quite simply, as the Washington Post reported, the entire system is backlogged with over 1 million cases. The more cases, the longer the wait. The current wait for a decision on SSD benefits is at an all time average high of 435 days.
If you are thinking about applying for SSD, or have a claim currently pending, you must be prepared to wait quite a long time for a decision.