The Social Security Administration’s (SSA) data for 2023 says the decision takes approximately 22 months. It means the time for the final decision from when you appeal an initial denial. However, the initial SSDI or SSI decision is nearly 6 months. 

Most disability applicants take about 28.1 months, i.e., 2 years and 4 months, for SSA to approve the benefits and when they begin to receive the Social Security Disability Benefits. This duration includes the following:

  • The initial decision
  • Request for reconsideration
  • Hearings waiting time
  • Receiving the judge’s decision that takes 2 months

However, in some disability claims, the time may exceed. An experienced disability lawyer may help you in the entire Social Security Disability process by strengthening the claim and telling you what not to say in the disability interview.

Stages Of Appeal For Disability Benefits

In the year 2023, it has been seen that an initial disability application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) takes approximately 4 to 6 months. However, if the initial application gets denied, then you have nearly 60 days to appeal. 

The stages of appeal are divided into 4 stages that include:

  • Reconsideration: In the reconsideration stage, the SSA will again review your application to analyze if they have made any mistakes. In most cases, reconsiderations end with a denial. Then, the applicant has to move to the next appeal stage. (learn more on reasons for denial of Social Security Disability)
  • Court hearing: In this stage, the applicant has an opportunity to file an appeal before the administrative law judge (ALJ). They will deny or approve the application. If you have a disability lawyer, your chances of approval are increased by three times, as with more than half of the hearings. This stage becomes the final appeal stage for most applicants.
  • Social Security Appeals Council: In this stage, the council may review the ALJ’s decision. They may send your disability application for another hearing. At this stage, the chances of approval may or may not be low. Your case may go to the same judge who previously denied your claim.
  • Federal district court: In this phase, you can file a civil suit where disability attorneys may benefit your case.

How long Does It take To Get a Reconsideration Decision?

The average time for the decision in the reconsideration phase is 6.1 months or 184 days. This was the time at the end of the year 2022. However, 

Your wait may be longer, though. SSA processing times have been increasing steadily over time. For example, the average time for a reconsideration decision in 2021 was 5.5 months.

How long It Takes To Get a Disability Hearing In Every State?

The table below will show the approximate SSDI or SSI hearing duration in 2023. Some states may have different local offices of SSA, where time may vary. States presently do not have SSA hearing offices in Alaska, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, and Vermont.

State The average wait to get a hearing
Alabama 16.9 months
Arizona 15.7 months
Arkansas 12 months
California 18.4 months
Colorado 15 months
Connecticut 14.5 months
Delaware 16 months
Florida 14.5 months
Georgia 18 months
Hawaii 19 months
Illinois 15.4 months
Indiana 14.5 months
Iowa 10 months
Kansas 9.3 months
Kentucky 11 months
Louisiana 17.8 months
Maine 16 months
Maryland 18 months
Massachusetts 15.3 months
Michigan 15.4 months
Minnesota 21 months
Mississippi 15 months
Missouri 14.9 months
Montana 21 months
Nebraska 10 months
Nevada 24.5 months
New Hampshire 9.5 months
New Jersey 16.7 months
New Mexico 17.3 months
New York 14 months
North Carolina 16.4 months
North Dakota 10.5 months
Ohio 14.7 months
Oklahoma 13.7 months
Oregon 16.3 months
Pennsylvania 16.9 months
Puerto Rico 20.5 months
Rhode Island 15 months
South Carolina 13 months
Tennessee 13 months
Texas 19.9 months
Utah 14 months
Virginia 17 months
Washington 17.7 months
West Virginia 14.3 months
Wisconsin 20.8 months


Can You Speed Up The Appeal Process?

No, there is nothing that you can do to speed up the disability claim process. However, additional delays can be prevented through the following:

  • File your appeals as soon as possible
  • File your appeals accurately by not skipping any questions
  • Respond to notices from the SSA as soon as possible

What Are My Chances Of  Winning a Disability Appeal?

The chances of SSDI and SSI approval rates may vary throughout the disability process. In the year 2022, the following were the disability approval rates at different stages:

  • Initial application — 35% medical approval rate
  • Reconsideration — 13% approval rate
  • Court hearing with ALJ— 54% approval rate

Can a Lawyer Help My Social Security Disability Appeal?

An experienced Social Security Disability Lawyer may not only increase your chances of pursuing your disability benefits but will also provide you with valuable assistance. They will let you file appeals before the deadline and will provide answers to all your queries. Moreover, they will even represent your case in the disability appeals hearing before the judge.