Some impairments, conditions, and illnesses will obviously impact an individual's life to the degree that would qualify the individual for Social Security Disability benefits. Some people are under the impression that having a certain condition will automatically qualify them for disability benefits. No matter how apparent a disabling condition might be, the decision is made by officials through a strict process.
Misinformation from various sources could lead individuals to wrongfully believe their condition will grant them immediate benefits. The Social Security Disability application process takes time for every claimant. Each application is reviewed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This process can take 2-3 months in some jurisdictions, yet in others there is a multi-year wait. Then, if the claim is denied and the applicant elects to appeal the decision, an even lengthier wait time lies ahead. For instance, wait times for disability hearings in North Carolina are as follows as of October 2015 figures from the SSA's Hearings and Appeals:
Charlotte - 19 months
Fayetteville - 19 months
Raleigh - 17 months
Click here for current disability hearing wait times.
Even if an individual is confident their illness or condition will qualify for disability, this decision is ultimately made by the SSA and every applicant must follow the same process. "Automatic" benefits are a myth. Learn about other misunderstandings in our "Myths About Social Security Disability" outline.