Timeline for the Social Security Disability Claims Process

Getting through the Social Security disability claims process can be a frustrating endeavor, particularly if you don’t know what to expect.

The steps to applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) are the same. However, not everyone ends up taking every step, as approval can come at any point. Below, the professionals at Mountain West Disability break down the timeline for the Social Security disability claims process to clear up the uncertainty about what happens when you apply for benefits.

How long does it take to get disability insurance

Initial Application

The first step to applying for SSI or SSDI is to file an application with the Social Security Administration. A Disability Determination Service (DDS) reviewer will evaluate your case and return a decision within about 3 to 6 months.


In the event the DDS denies your application, you will have 60 days to request reconsideration. A second reviewer will then look at your application, typically within 3 to 4 months of your request.

Administrative Law Judge

If your disability claim is not approved during the reconsideration stage, you will have 60 days to request a hearing with an administrative law judge. You can expect to wait 18 to 24 months for the hearing, and another 45 to 90 days for a decision.

Appeals Council

If the judge does not approve your disability claim, you will have 60 days to request a review from the Appeals Council. Getting a decision at this stage generally takes 15 to 18 months.

Federal District Court

If you receive a denial from the Appeals Council, you will have 60 days to file a federal lawsuit challenging the decision. The Federal District Court can approve or deny your claim, or they may send it back for further review. In any event, the wait time for a determination is at least 2 years.

Receiving Benefits

If your claim is approved and you are awarded benefits at any step of the process, the time it will take to start receiving checks will be relatively short. Most people learn the amount they will receive and get their initial benefits within 4 to 6 weeks.

Completing the Process

Are you interested in applying for SSI or SSDI? Working with a qualified professional can increase your chances of obtaining benefits from the Social Security Administration.

If you want expert help with the Social Security Disability claims process, the professionals at Mountain West Disability are the team to trust. Based in northern Utah, we’ve been working with clients across the country for several years – and we only collect a fee if your claim is approved.

For more information about Mountain West Disability, or to begin the Social Security disability claims process, contact us today.