TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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Social Security disability approval time

Many California residents will apply for Social Security disability or SSI every year and may wonder how long the process takes. The answer depends on multiple factors, including how long it takes the applicant to go through each stage of the process.

The first step in applying for disability is completing an application at a local Social Security office or online. If the initial application is denied, the next step is to apply for reconsideration. If this is denied, the applicant has a right to request a hearing before an administrative law judge. This final step is usually the most frustrating for applicants because they can spend twelve months or more waiting for a hearing due to the backlog of cases.

The national approval rate for disability cases that proceed to hearing is about 65 percent. About 10 percent of cases are dismissed rather than denied. The approval rate for all claims is about 35 to 40 percent.

Some disability claims can be expedited. For example, if the applicant is suffering from a terminal condition, the application can be designated as a TERI case which is processed within 30 days. Even if a patient's condition is not terminal, the quick disability determination process (QDD) is a program that can put the claim on track for a quick decision. The compassionate allowances process allows the Social Security Administration to identify conditions that always qualify for disability using administrative guidelines.

Disabled individuals who want guidance during the application process may wish to consult an experienced Social Security disability lawyer. An attorney may be able to assist clients at all stages of the proceeding, including the initial application, request for reconsideration, and representation before an administrative law judge. At a hearing, the applicant will be allowed to present testimony about their condition.

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