How Long Does It Take?

The Disability Determination Services (DDS) evaluation process can take up to six months (sometimes longer) before a decision is made on your claim. The MAJORITY of all claims are denied based on the initial application. This can happen for a variety of reasons; technicalities, inadequate medical documentation, inadequately presenting the disability and other mistakes. Filing with the help of an advocate or attorney can potentially increase your chance of initial approval and shorten your time to receive benefits. They will know exactly how to complete the forms properly and collect the required documentation.

To learn more about how the help of an attorney or advocate can potentially improve the time to receive benefits simply fill out the short form below.

Process and Time-line for SSD Benefit Determination

The DDS will send you a letter regarding their determination. In the case of an approved claim, the letter will indicate the amount of benefits you will receive and the date payments will begin. In the case of a denial the letter will provide an explanation for withholding benefits as well as a method of appeal. Once denied, most applicants choose to seek legal representation or an advocacy service due to the increased complexity of the appeal process. The following chart depicts the time-line of the entire claim, denial and appeals process for an individual handling their case without representation until the 2nd appeal stage.
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With the substantial bureaucracy and roadblocks along the way, the length of time that an individual can expect to receive a final decision by the Appeal Council can range from 2.5 to 5 years!

If we take a look at the same process from the perspective of a claimant using either an advocacy service or attorney to represent them in their claim, we can see the dramatic difference.

This leads to the question: should you use an advocacy service or attorney?

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