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:
This is one the biggest regrets our readers report: Assuming that their lawyer or doctor would do everything that needed to be done for their application to get approved. While some people do get approved this way, most lawyers will be honest and tell you upfront that they will usually take 2-3 years. If your goal is to get approved more quickly, there are many things you can do to help your chances. (If you’ve already gotten denied and you are waiting for a hearing, don’t read this page, look here instead).
It is exceedingly helpful to collect and read all your medical records and treatment notes (not visit summaries and not what appears online). If there is a problem with your records you want to know now. In most cases, you cannot rely on your lawyer to read your records at this point. (Many lawyers wait two years before collecting and reading all your records).
It’s a great idea to check in with your disability examiner and see what records she is still missing. Make sure she has each important document – especially letters and RFC forms. If you get any new important tests or procedures done, let her know and keep following up until you are certain she has everything. (Once again, do not leave this to your lawyer. Your lawyer does not have electronic access to your file at this point, so she has no way of knowing if anything was lost or missing).
While you are waiting, any of these things may happen to you: You may get an Adult Function Report or 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 and how to handle each step.
Sleepy Girl tips for a (slightly) easier life while you are applying.
Click here if you run into a problem with your application
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.
If you have federal student loans, you have some options. Look into this now, so you don’t have to worry about your backpay being garnished.
Questions that may come up at the doctor’s office while you are waiting for you are applying.
Ways to get a faster decision.
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
🌷 If you have not already done so you may wish to create an online account, so Social Security can send you enigmatic little messages.
🌷 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.
🌷 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.
🌷 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.
🌷 You may get a message that you were approved medically but they need to do a “non-medical review.” This is good news. It means you were approved. They will be contacting you to do a financial interview for SSI.
🌷 If you get a decision, make sure it says a medical decision. If it is not a medical decision read this.
🌷 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).
🌷 If you were approved take a look here: Everything No One Ever Tells You After You Get Approved
🌷 If you were not approved (yet!) take a look here: How to Be Reconsidered or How to Appeal
What Do You Think?
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Updated May 2018. If you found this page helpful, please share it with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons: