Do SSDI Denials Come Faster Than Approvals?

Submitted by Elizabeth on

Have you recently filed a claim for Social Security disability benefits? If so, you might assume that disability denials arrive faster than approvals while you’re waiting to hear back about your claim’s status.

However, that’s not necessarily the case. This overview will explain why it’s not always the case, while also providing some information regarding the reasons as to why it may take some time for you to hear back about your claim.

Will I Receive a Disability Denial Letter Faster Than an Approval Letter?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) carefully reviews all SSD benefits claims. Thus, the SSA typically does not issue disability denials more quickly than approvals. All disability benefits applications go through the same process regardless of the final decision.

That said, the SSA establishes and enforces various criteria for claims. The SSA may deny your claim for disability benefits at any point if your claim does not meet all the necessary criteria.

What Factors Cause A SSDI Denial?

Several factors can cause a claim for Social Security Disability benefits to be denied. Common reasons include:

  • Your condition is not severe enough to prevent you from working. The SSA uses a definition of disability that requires the individual to have a severe impairment that makes them unable to perform any substantial gainful activity for at least 12 months.
  • Your condition is not found in the SSA's Listing of Impairments, a list of medical conditions that meet the SSA's definition of disability.
  • Your income exceeds the substantial gainful activity (SGA) limit set by the SSA. Currently, the SGA is $1,550 in 2024.
  • Your disability is due to substance abuse, and the SSA determines that the disability would not exist if you stopped using.
  • Your application is incomplete or missing important information, such as medical evidence or proof of income.
  • It’s unlikely your condition will last at least 12 months or result in death.
  • Your age, education, and work experience do not meet the SSA's criteria for disability.
  • You have not received or continued medical treatment.

It is important to note that the SSA's decision-making process is very complex, so not all the reasons for denial may be included in this list.

Why Have I Not Heard Back Yet?

Reasons you may not have heard back about your claim’s status yet include:

  • It’s not uncommon for months or even years to go by before a claimant receives a decision.
  • It typically takes 3 to 5 months to receive a decision for an initial claim. Additionally, because two-thirds of claims for disability benefits result in SSDI denials, there is a good chance your claim will result in a denial. You may then proceed to the disability appeal stage.
  • Wait times for decisions on Social Security disability benefits claims can vary from one state to another.

Get Help With Your Disability Benefits Claim

Again, receiving both SSDI denials and approvals can take some time. One way to ensure your claim is complete and meets all necessary criteria (which may improve your chances of receiving an approval) is to hire an attorney who represents those applying for Social Security disability benefits. To get started, complete the Free Case Evaluation on this page to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.

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