People who are new to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) process are often frustrated by how long it takes and how difficult it can be to get approved for disability benefits.
This is not a new problem and is one of the reasons many people prefer to work with a disability lawyer on their claim.
What is SSDI?
There are two types of federal Social Security programs. In this blog post, we’re focusing on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which is a federal insurance program for disabled workers and certain dependents. A person applying for benefits will have worked enough to obtain the number of work credits required to be eligible for benefits.
You must also have earned a certain amount of money each year and have had taxes withheld from your pay to receive credits. If you have worked steadily for at least five of the last ten years, you will often meet the non-medical requirements for disability benefits.
A good way to think about SSDI is as an insurance program you have paid into for years. It is designed to be available to you should you be unable to work in the future due to a medical impairment. Unfortunately, even if you qualify, it can take a long time to receive disability benefits. Let’s take a look at some recent data from 2019.
By the Numbers
Most SSDI applications are processed at local hearing offices. Wait times vary by state. Unfortunately, North Carolina has some of the longest wait times in the country. Here’s a look at the data from our state as of last year:
- In 2018, there were 78,684 applications filed for SSDI.
- In 2019, there were 27,036 hearings in backlog for the state.
- The average processing time for applications was 625 days.
*All numbers compiled from the SSA.
How to Get Help
While we do not advise most clients to do this, it is not impossible to complete an application for disability and to work through the process alone. You’ll need time, patience and a great deal of organization to stay the course. Most applications are not approved at the initial stage, and must then go through a reconsideration process, and then, if still unsuccessful, maybe to the hearing level.
Unlike many firms, our disability lawyers work with applicants in Winston-Salem, Mounty Airy and Lexington at all stages of the process and can help you file your initial application. If you prefer to file on your own, you can always contact us or another disability lawyer should your initial application not be successful.
There are many reasons a majority of people use a disability lawyer to help them with their SSDI claim. No matter your personal choice, we wish you a speedy and successful journey.