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Why Is My SS Claim Taking So Long?

 |   |  Social Security Disability

Why Is My Social Security Claim Taking So long?

At Shook and Stone, the most common question we hear from our Social Security disability clients is “why does my claim take so long to process?” After suffering an injury, many of our clients are shocked to discover that a Social Security disability claim can take upward of two years to reach a resolution. If you’re injured at work, it’s important to contact a Social Security disability lawyer in Las Vegas as soon as you can. Learn more about the timeline for Social Security claims below. 

How Long Does a Social Security Claim Take?

In Nevada, the average wait time from when you initially file to when you appear before an administrative law judge can be upward of 443 days. The processing time can be lengthened when clients make the mistake of waiting to file after suffering a severe injury or illness. It is not uncommon for many people to wait to file in the hope that their condition improves and they can return to work. 

While waiting to file a Social Security disability claim, clients are exhausting their savings, and often pushing themselves in ways that lower their chances of recovery. After all, many of our clients have worked their entire lives and are completely shocked to discover just how complicated the system can be for those who can no longer work. The sooner you file, the better for you, because if you end up making a full recovery and can return to work, there is no penalty. But if you are not able to return to work, it’s important to begin the claims process as soon as possible so you can receive the benefits you deserve. 

Why Does the Social Security Disability Claims Process Take So Long?

Even if you have met all of the Nevada SSD requirements You may be surprised to learn just how long the Social Security disability process takes. But there are many reasons that contribute to processing delays. So why does it take so long for a Social Security disability claim to process? 

The Five-Month Waiting Period

The first reason — and one reason it’s vital to apply early — is that the United States Social Security Administration has instituted a five-month waiting period to ensure only those with long-term disabilities can receive benefits. Long-term disabilities are generally defined as those expected to last more than 12 months. 

But what if you don’t know if or even when you’ll return to work? Doctors may tell you it could be over a year, or they may be unable or unwilling to give you a solid estimate. This is why it’s best to file early. The Social Security office is going to institute the five-month waiting period regardless.

Incorrect Medical Records

The second reason claims take so long is that clients don’t understand exactly what the Social Security office is looking for, or they have problems obtaining all of their medical records. Just because a physician says you are fully disabled, or an optometrist says you are legally blind, does not mean you automatically win your case. The Social Security Administration makes the final determination, and what they consider fully disabled or legally blind may be very different from your doctor’s opinion. 

The Social Security Administration regulations are very specific, and it is often extremely difficult for a person to show they meet a requirement. Even if they have severe or crippling injuries, the Social Security Administration may deny your claim simply because claim documents are missing or incomplete. This is why it’s important to obtain specific medical records that highlight what the Social Security Administration is looking for, confirming that you fit their listing criteria.

Missing Documents

The third reason claims take so long is that many people fail to understand just how important forms or recommended examinations can be. A work history form that is missing or filled out in a hurry can result in a loss of benefits. For many types of claims, the government needs to know very specific criteria. But many people skip over certain sections or fail to understand what the questions are asking for. 

Questions such as “How much did you lift at your prior job?” or “How long were you standing?” can completely change how your file is handled depending on your age and other criteria. Missing or incomplete information leads to early denials, so it is vital to work with a skilled law firm that understands government requirements.

Number of Claims in Your Area

Finally, claims can take a long time to process depending on how many people are filing in your area. Hearings are scheduled with an administrative law judge who may hear a large number of cases in a year, but there are often many people still waiting for a judge to review their files. The review process can take a significant amount of time if the proper information is not available during the initial and reconsideration levels. 

Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up this part of the process, which makes filing early with the help of an experienced law firm all the more important to bring your claim to a swift and successful resolution.  

Avoid Claim Delays With a Las Vegas Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you’re thinking of filing for Social Security disability, time is of the essence. The Nevada Social Security disability attorneys at Shook & Stone can assist you every step of the way to ensure you have the correct documentation, meet administration requirements, and obtain all necessary medical records. Contact Shook & Stone today to avoid common causes of delays.