How Long Does It Take To Get A Decision On An Initial Claim For Benefits?


It can be frustrating waiting for your benefits to come through. You are, typically, recovering or in a difficult financial situation due to your disability and the luxury of time is not something in abundance. How long will you have to wait? When will you be able to expect a decision from your claim?

Average Time

Statistics from Fiscal Year 2018 indicate that, in Utah, a claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits is currently taking approximately 165 days from application to decision.  While this 5 month waiting period is only an average, there are several factors that can come into play on the time table.  

For example, individuals with very few medical providers might receive a decision quicker than those with more complex claims.  Disability claims with many medical providers, lack of current work or other complications may receive a decision much later than the 165 day average.  

Factors That Affect The Timeline

There are multiple factors that contribute to the length of time necessary to make a decision on a claim for benefits.  Currently, the Social Security Administration is understaffed (some statistics say that up to 30% of employee positions are currently unfilled.) Therefore, it can take some time for the claim to be assigned to an adjudicator. 

 Additionally, all of your medical records must be requested. An average time frame for receipt of records from your medical providers could take up to 60 days.  Often, medical providers utilize copy/recordkeeping services to assist with printing, copying and mailing records. Once the medical records are received, a disability examiner must review the records (which can be quite lengthy) and determine if additional information is necessary.  This may be a consultative examination paid for by the Social Security Administration or other types of development. This step may also add some time to the processing of the claim. Once all information is received and reviewed a preliminary decision is made which must be reviewed and approved by a medical doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist before a final decision can be issued.


Unfortunately, the process can be long and frustrating. Having the right attorney that can navigate the muddy waters of the claim process is your best bet at quicker success. Match & Farnsworth has over 30 years experience in complex social security claims and advocating for their clients. 

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