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The Timetable Of An SSI Application


If you also applied for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI),
see: The Timetable of An SSDI Application

The time it takes to process an application for SSI varies at the extremes from a minimum of a little over a month to a year or more. Variables include which office is processing your claim, how long it takes to provide all the documentation Social Security requests, and how fast your doctors and other people reply to requests for information.

If your claim involves a health condition that could be considered to be a so-called terminal condition or a possible disability extension of COBRA, and you have told that to the interviewer, your claim will be "fast-tracked" and processed more quickly.

A lot of the determination of how long a claim takes is in your control. Personally getting and delivering the medical records, promptly answering all requests and completing all questionnaires, and pushing providers who are slow in replying to requests will all help keep the claim on track.

Generally, however, you can use the following timeline as a guide and a list of things to consider doing to keep your claim on track.

Count the timeline from the date of the interview.

As the process proceeds, watch your mail for mailings from Social Security or DDS.

The information about the actual process of applying for disability is based on the experience of people who have gone through the process and experts who have conducted interviews with Social Security personnel in Field Offices. However, the Social Security Administration is a huge arm of the federal government and has hundreds of Field and Branch offices where they interview applicants and take applications. Because of its size, procedures will vary from office to office. Do not be alarmed if your experience of the process is somewhat different than the steps described.

First Week

You can help by:

  • Having all the documents and information ready.
  • Completing the forms Social Security sends you before the interview.
  • Having all the information needed to complete the other forms described in SSI: Applying For.
  • Having your medical records to take to the interview.
  • Making a friend at the interview (see How To Make A Friend With The People At Social Security).
  • Promptly sending in any additional material the Claims Representative requests during the interview

Second Week

If you mailed anything to the Claims Representative after the Interview, you can help by calling to make sure anything you mailed to the Claims Representative after the interview was received. .

Third Week

Your file should be sent from the Social Security Claims Representative to the Disability Analyst at the state agency that processes medical claims.

You can help by:

  • Calling the Social Security Claims Representative to get the name and phone number of the Disability Analyst evaluating the medical portion of your claim.
  • Calling the Claims Analyst, introducing yourself, making a friend (see How To Make A Friend With The People At Social Security). Ask if he or she is missing any records or information.
  • Letting the Analyst know if there are changes in your financial or medical condition.

Fourth Week

The analyst is likely reviewing the complete file.      

You can help by continuing to stay in touch and by sending any new medical charts from recent medical visits.

Let the Analyst know if there are changes in your financial or medical condition. 

Second Month

Review of file continues.

You can help by staying in touch with your friend, the Analyst, and obtaining any additional information she may need.

Again, let the Analyst know if there are changes in your financial or medical condition. 

Third Month

If you are going to be asked to submit to a consultative exam, it will probably happen around this time. You can help by requesting that your own doctor and/or mental health professional  be permitted to conduct the exam. To learn more, see: Consultative Exam.

By the end of the Third month: A decision should be made as long as all the documentation and information has been received by Social Security.

You can help by contacting the Disability Analyst and asking what is delaying the decision. If all the information is in, there appears to be no reason for the delay, and the Analyst at the state agency and/or the Claims Representative at Social Security don't seem to have a good explanation for the delay, consider talking to a superviso

If The Delay Becomes Unreasonable

You can call your Congressperson's office and asking for an inquiry into the reason for the delay. Congress people have staff assigned to handle just such questions.

CAUTION: This should be considered only as a last resort to getting your claim determined and released. Local Social Security offices do not like hearing from Congressional staff and they tend to remember the person who made the call. 

Watch Your Mail

During the application process, Social Security is likely to send you questionnaires, information, and notices of consultative exams. If you miss or delay replying to these requests, your application will be delayed and your file may even be closed.   

If you plan to be out of town, make sure someone is watching your mail and forwarding anything from Social Security to you. 







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