Your application is processed at your local field office and is then transferred to Disability Determination Service. This is where a medical determination is made on your claim. After a decision is made you will receive a decision letter from the field office.
Reconsideration 5 to 7 Months for a Decision
The reconsideration stage is where Social Security takes another look at the first decision. The process is similar to the first stage, with your claim going from the field office to Disability Determination Service. Social Security is checking the first decision to see if anything has changed with your health. It is important that you continue to see your doctors. Again, you can expect a decision letter from the field office.
The Hearing 12 to 18 Months for a Decision
This is where you see a judge. After the initial examiners make their decisions, you can make an appeal to a judge. This is the longest step in the process, but it is also the step where you have the best chance of being approved. While at the first two stages the examiners can only look at paper to make their decision, at this stage you have the chance to tell a judge what you have gone through and why you cannot work.