The national average wait time hit an all-time high in 2017, ringing in at 19.5 months on average. This is how long an individual had to wait for their social security hearing. Sadly, this trend does not seem to be improving as President Trump’s proposed fiscal 2019 Social Security Administration (SSA) budget would cut staffing. The reduction in staff is projected to create even longer waiting periods as the amount of applications submitted each year increases and the system simply cannot handle the volume. In general, the process of applying and receiving social security benefits is not fast and can take years to get through.
What is the Average Wait Time for Approval or Denial?
There is no legal time frame for a social security benefit claim to be denied or approved after an individual attends their hearing. On average, it takes about three to six months for a written decision to be issued, but the wait can vary depending on many factors in your case. It is highly unlikely you will receive a decision on your claim at the actual hearing.
Can a Claim for Social Security Benefits be Expedited?
There are a few circumstances that automatically expedite your claim for Social Security benefits. Individuals with prior or current military service will have their claim expedited automatically if the disability began while they were on active duty. Individuals suffering from a terminal illness will have their claim automatically expedited too, and there are some medical conditions that qualify an individual for compassionate allowances (also known as CAL). CAL conditions are defined as so severe that they are immediately approved under the SSA’s Listings of Impairments.
Dire Need May Expedite a Claim
There is still a chance to expedite your claim even if your impairment is not defined as terminal or does not qualify under CAL. An individual may expedite their claim for social security benefits if they can demonstrate a dire need to do so. Your claim may be expedited if you can prove that you do not have the resources to get medicine, shelter, or food. If you believe you are facing a dire need to have your claim heard quickly, you should notify the SSA in writing immediately. The SSA will not automatically expedite every claim based on an individual’s financial hardship, therefore, you should supply the SSA with as much evidence as possible to verify the hardships you are facing. Evidence could be things like an eviction notice, expensive, but necessary, medical treatment or prescriptions you are unable to afford, shut-off notices from any utility company, or similar items.
Do You Need Legal Advice from an Experienced Social Security Attorney?
It can be a challenge to navigate the SSA rules and regulations, but you don’t have to go at it alone. When dealing with such circumstances, it is to your advantage to seek legal advice from a skilled social security attorney. With such an advocate in your corner, you will push toward a positive outcome for your legal case.
Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or its sister firm, the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group, has demonstrated skill and experience dealing with SSDI, SSI, and related matters. If you need legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. You can reach the attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC or RMDLG by phone at 866-476-4558 (toll free) and 303-534-1958 (toll) or online by completing a simple form on our website.