When a Los Angeles resident finally submits a complete initial application for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it can probably feel like a large part of the ordeal is done. However, the reality is that even after all of the hard work of gathering information and documents for the application, the submission of the application is just the starting point. Federal regulations require a rigorous screening of applications by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
As a result, the actual processing time for an application for SSD benefits can vary. But, as a recent article noted, the typical goal is for an application to be processed within a three-to-five month timeframe. A variety of critical factors can play a part in the time it takes to process an application, though.
First, the type of disability that is being claimed can make a difference. Some disabilities are readily acknowledged by the SSA as the type of disability that will qualify a person for SSD benefits, assuming they meet the work credits requirements. But, other types of disabilities may require greater scrutiny for the SSA to determine that the applicant is dealing with an inability to work due to the condition.
Next, if there is any additional information that is needed to complete the review of the application, the timeframe of receiving extra medical documentation could slow the process down. And, if that additional information is not enough, the SSA could ask an applicant to undergo a medical exam. These are some of the factors that can impact the processing time for an application for Social Security Disability benefits.
Source: The Oklahoman, "Social Security: Timing on disability benefit decisions vary," Sept. 25, 2016