Social Security: How You Can Get Your Disability Benefits Quicker

by Victoria Santiago

The process for getting social security disability benefits can be painfully long. There are a few ways to speed up the process, though.

According to the SSA, it usually takes three to five months for Americans to get approved for SSDI, if they get approved at all. Roughly 65% of first-time SSDI applications get denied. So, it’s very possible that you could be waiting a while to hear back.

If you think you’re eligible for benefits, there are several ways to speed up the process:  

Make Sure Your Info Is Right

This should be a given, but it’s crucial to make sure that everything you’re submitting is correct. If you made any errors on your application or didn’t give enough information, it could easily cause your application to get denied.

You’ll want to make sure that you answer every question and provide as much detail to those questions. For example, employment history and medical history are both essential to your application for social security disability benefits.

For medical history, this includes the names of doctors, hospitals, treatment dates, and more. You’ll also need a list of your employers and job titles that goes back 15 years.

If Your Disability Benefits Are Denied, File An Appeal

In the event that your application gets denied, you can file an appeal. You have 60 days to do this, but the process will go by quicker if you submit your appeal as soon as possible. If you choose to wait the entire 60 days, your claim could get delayed.

Get A Judge Hearing

There are actually four levels of appeals. The most important one is to request a hearing from an administrative law judge (ALJ). Winning in front of an ALJ is not a sure thing. However, you’ll have better chances to get disability benefits this way. Make sure you’re prepared, and that you have an attorney familiar with SSDI.

The Sun reports that the rate of approvals is 45%, compared with 35% denials and 20% dismisses.  

Dire Need’ or Terminal Illness Could Lead to Quicker Results

If you have a dire need, that could also get you disability benefits quicker. Being without food, shelter, or medicine counts as a dire need, as does getting evicted or foreclosed. You’ll have to write a letter to the SSA explaining your situation and why you need benefits.

Terminal illnesses will also typically get you benefits faster. Of course, you’ll have to provide the SSA with evidence of your condition for this to work.

According to the SSA, the following situations are terminal:

  • Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS
  • Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
  • Specific types of cancer
  • Inpatient hospice or home hospice care
  • On a cardiopulmonary life-sustaining device
  • Getting a heart, liver, or lung transplant

Military Injuries Could Lead to Faster Disability Benefits Decisions

Lastly, those who have been hurt during military service can also ask for a faster processing time. As long as it happened on active duty on or after October 1, 2001, you should be able to get your social security disability benefits claim processed faster.