Generally, you can reduce the delay on your claim by completing paperwork in a timely manner, responding promptly to requests from the agency, and submitting your medical records early on. However, most of the hold up stems from waiting for an ALJ hearing. In fact, the average wait time in Brooklyn, New York was over 2 years. In other words, it could take years to get a final decision on your application.
We’ve outlined some ways to move the process along.
You may request an On The Record (OTR) review if you have enough evidence to substantiate your disability. Your file should contain medical evidence that demonstrates your disability. This does not require testimony from you or a vocational expert. An OTR review enables you to skip long delay that comes with waiting for the ALJ hearing.
You can request an OTR only after you’ve asked for an appeal and the ALJ hearing. If the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) approves your request, an ALJ will approve your disability by issuing a written decision. If denied, you will proceed to the ALJ hearing.
Attorney Advisor Decision
You can also get an early decision from an attorney that works for the agency. Certain circumstances allow for attorney advisor decisions:
- Social Security made an error
- You have new supporting evidence for your claim
- A change in the law now supports your claim
If any of these apply to you, it may help to request an attorney advisor decision by contacting the ODAR.
If successful, you will receive a attorney advisor opinion that will award you benefits. If not, you will proceed to the ALJ hearing.
If you have a serious medical condition and satisfy the other requirements for SSDI or SSI, you may receive benefits more quickly. If your illness is on The Compassionate Allowances List (CAL), the SSA will disperse disability benefits within a few weeks.
Meeting all the non-medical criteria for SSDI or SSI and having a terminal illness will grant you benefits faster. The agency can expedite applications through TERI for candidates with terminal illness. Be sure to submit your initial application with medical records.
There are 15 conditions that will confer benefits even before a decision is made on your application. If you have a condition on the Presumptive Disability (PD) list, you are eligible for 6 months of SSI payments while waiting for a decision.