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How Long Will it Take to Get Social Security Disability Benefits?


How long it takes depends on how quickly the state agency reviewing applications for the Social Security Administration decides whether you qualify for benefits. In Oklahoma, this agency is the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Disability Determination Division.

According to the Social Security Administration, you should apply for disability as soon as you become disabled. You will receive disability benefits beginning the sixth full month after your disability began. The Disability Determination Division (DDD) will decide when your disability began as part of determining whether you qualify for benefits at all. The initial determination should take three to six months. If the DDD decides in your favor, you will begin receiving benefits soon after.

Generally, the DDD approves about 42 percent of SSD claims and just over 28 percent of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claims. This means that more than half of SSD applicants must appeal if they want benefits, and over three-quarters of SSI applicants must appeal the DDD’s initial decision. Problems with delay really begin to arise for people with disabilities when the DDD decides against you, and you have to challenge their decision.

These challenges can take a long time, and you could even end up pursuing your claim in court. The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) has three offices in Oklahoma:

  • McAlester
  • Oklahoma City
  • Tulsa

You can appeal a denial of benefits at any of these offices, but it can easily take upwards of a year before your case comes up for review. This means that you are now a minimum of 18 months past the date on which you became disabled, and have probably been struggling by on very little income since then.

One way to improve your odds of winning disability benefits on your first application is to work with an experienced Social Security lawyer. Someone who really knows the system can help ensure that you get everything right the first time, and tell your story in a way compelling for the officers at the DDD or the judges at the ODAR.