The onset of a disabling medical condition could be slow, as is the case with a progressive disorder, or it could be instantaneous, possibly the result of a traumatic injury.
Whether your condition has slowly worsened for several years or your situation changed in a few moments, by the time you think about applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may already have massive expenses to cover and a total loss of income.
How long will you have to wait to get benefits?
Some people qualify for fast track approval
Although the Social Security Administration (SSA) is notorious for denying qualified applicants and taking a long time to approve people, it does have programs in place intended to speed up the process for those with particularly serious health concerns.
There are programs, including fast-track approval and compassionate allowance, that can help certain people get benefits more quickly than the average applicant.
Many people will need to wait for months
If your condition doesn’t qualify for fast track approval, you may have to wait for an individual employee to review your application. It may be several weeks, possibly three to four months, before you have a response, and not everyone gets benefits right away.
If you have to appeal, you may have to wait months. The Tuscon SSA office reports an average wait time of nine months for those who require an appeal in front of an administrative law judge.
Although you will have to cover your costs in the interim, when the SSA eventually approves you, you can get backdated benefits going all the way back to when you first qualified. Understanding what to expect when you apply for SSDI benefits will take the guesswork out of budgeting.