How long does a typical Social Security case take?

clock and calendarThe Social Security process is set up into three stages and each of these stages takes time.

Initial application

At the initial stage, the government will evaluate your financial background to determine if you meet the financial qualifiers. If you do, then your case is sent to Austin. There, they will ask you to fill out some forms about your work history and how your disability has affected your daily routine. After that, they will order your medical records (which takes anywhere between one and three months to obtain). Then the government will usually order a medical exam or two. Once this is done, the person making the decision will review all the evidence and make a decision. This process usually takes anywhere between 3-6 months.


In this stage, like the name suggests, the government will reconsider your claim by a new employee. That employee is supposed to do an independent and complete review of the first decision. The problem is that most of the time they simply adopt the previous decision (around 90% of the time). This stage usually takes anywhere between 2-4 months

Hearing with a judge

When your Request for Reconsideration is denied, you have 60 days to file an appeal and ask to share your case with a judge. The judge will listen to your testimony and review all your medical records. The good news is that at this level, you have the greatest chance winning your case. The bad news is that there is a tremendous backlog. Most people have to wait around 15 months before they can get a date to meet with a judge.

Throughout this process, it is incredibly important to keep three things in mind.

  • Do not give up.
  • Get medical treatment for your disabilities.
  • Make sure that all your medical records have been given to the Social Security Administration.

In summary, a person can win at any one of these stages. Some win in just a few months while others go through all three stages and wait over two years. For the best shot at obtain benefits, consult with a Social Security disability lawyer today.