How to Wait for a Disability Decision


After you first apply for disability, you will wait about three to six months before you get a decision. Here’s some great things you can do and some interesting things that may happen while you are waiting:

Improve Your Application

πŸ“« The biggest mistake people make is thinking their lawyer or doctor will do everything that needs to be done to get them approved. If you leave everything to a lawyer, it will usually take three years to get approved, and sometimes even after waiting three years, it still doesn’t work. You are the best person to help your application. It is never too late. The more you can do, the better your chances will be.

Collect New Medical Records

πŸ“« If get any new tests or important doctors appointments, collect these records and send them in. (If you are unable to collect them yourself, contact your Disability Examiner in writing with the names, dates, and contact information for the important records you would like collected).

Check Your Social Security File

πŸ“« This is important. Please do not leave this to your lawyer – many lawyers do not begin collecting and checking your records until two years after you first apply. It’s a great idea to check in with your disability examiner and see if there are any records she is still missing. If you get any new tests or procedures done, make sure to let her know.

What Happens Next

πŸ“« While you are waiting, any of these things may happen to you: You may get an Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire, you may get sent to a Social Security doctor, your contact person may get sent a Third Party form, or you may get a phone call from your Disability Examiner. Above is a timeline of what happens when.

Make Your Life a Little Easier

πŸ“« Sleepy Girl tips for a (slightly) easier life while you are applying.


πŸ“« Click here if you run into a problem with your application

Check your date last insured

πŸ“« If you are applying for SSDI, you may wish to check your Date Last Insured. If it is coming up soon, you want to do everything possible to get the best medical evidence you can before that day arrives.

Learn a little about SSI

πŸ“« If you are applying for SSI, the way you are living right now can make your backpay check go up or down.

Cryptic Love Notes from Social Security

πŸ“« If you have not already done so you may wish to create an online account, so Social Security can send you enigmatic little messages.

πŸ“« At some point you may notice that your online account says SSI is denied but SSDI is still processing. Or you may get a letter saying something like this. Or it may say it the other way around. Sometimes this is true, sometimes not. Sometimes it is a big deal, sometimes not. Don’t panic just yet. Learn more.

πŸ“« You may get a message that says “a medical decision has been made.” This means they made a decision but they won’t tell you if it is a denial or an approval. Stay tuned. They will let you know more soon.

πŸ“« You may get a message that says they are reviewing your case for “processing accuracy.” This means your case was randomly selected for quality review where, most of the time, nothing happens. Stay tuned.

πŸ“« You may get a message that you were approved medically but they need to do a β€œnon-medical review.” This is good news. It means you were approved. They will be contacting you to do a financial interview for SSI.

The Decision!

πŸ“« If you get a decision, make sure it says a medical decision. If it is not a medical decision read this.

πŸ“« They will send you your decision by mail. Sometimes it will appear first on your online account. Sometimes someone is willing to tell you over the phone (but usually not).

πŸ“« If you were approved take a look here: Everything No One Ever Tells After You Get Approved

πŸ“« If you were not approved (yet!) take a look here: How to Be Reconsidered or How to Appeal

Updated Sept 2017Β πŸ“«

Robin Mead


12 thoughts on “How to Wait for a Disability Decision”

  1. Lily I am so frustrated. Of course I was denied at my first go round. I am using ALLSUP, but they don’t seem to be working hard. They wait to hear from ddd’s, but never send them info. Allsup says SSDI will request info if they need it, but they don’t request functional or medical source statements from doctors, which I have gotten. Allsup says they don’t request medical records on my behalf unless I go to the hearing stage. Yet, rep from ALLSUP says I am not supposed to talk to SSDI people, only them. Should I be sending all paperwork to SSDI rep myself? Seems to me ALLSUP is trying to drag it out to get a bigger paayout. Am I wrong on this?


    1. Hi Kimberly,

      So sorry to hear you are dealing with this.

      It is great that you are on top of everything and getting statements from your docs.

      What stage are you at now? Are you waiting for a hearing? New application decision? Or a reconsideration decision?



  2. Hi I am at the reconsideration stage. SSDI got the request for that on June 12. Since, I messaged you last, I had Allsup send me the ADL questionnaire that I completed by them on phone on 6/22. There are a few major mistakes on it about chores that I do around the house.

    I have had some major medical updates that I sent to ALLSUP. I am praying they are sending them directly to the DDS. I had X-rays and an MRI done of my neck and got the results from my new orthopedist on 7/18. I have moderate to severe osteoarthritis on both sides, two herniated discs, pinched nerves, degenerative discs and some stenosis. This explains my pain and why it is so difficult for me to do thins with my arms. I have problems with my lower back too, but when I called the orthopedist group, I had to choose which doctor to see for one part of my body and I chose neck. Now, I’m thinking I should see someone for my whole spine. I have physical therapy on 7/24. Do you thing the PT report will be enough or should I get an MRI of my whole spine? Is this too much information for me to share on here?


    1. Thanks for the update Kimberly.

      That is smart of you to get a copy of your ADL report. I didn’t realize that Allsup filled that out for people. I’m curious how it worked – they interviewed you on the phone and then completed it for you?

      I can’t really know what is best for your doctor visits. Usually Social Security will give more weight to records from a doctor than a physical therapist. However, if you already have MRI report that shows a clear problem, you may not need another one.

      Here’s how you can check your social security file to see what records they do and don’t have. ❀


  3. Hey Sleepygirl ! I had surgery 10 years ago Complete Torn ACL repair now 10 years later I’m unable to work because of my Osteoarthritis and “hip drop”. I was eligible for disability under Title II act. Do you think I’m medically eligible, I have good hopes..


  4. Hello, I have been in the SSDI process since April of 2014 after breaking my back at work. I had my ALJ hearing on August 29th 2017 and have been anxiously awaiting a decision since then. I just checked online, and it says “status: processing”. Does this mean anything (at writers, they are computing benefits, etc) or is it just another way of saying pending? Thank you and happy holidays!


  5. Am I reading above correct if you receive a message medical decision has been made usually favorable.
    I took a fce about 2 weeks ago and right after fce the message appeared
    My fce showed less than sedentary work.


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