I am frequently asked about the timeline for a Social Security claim. How long does it take?
The initial consideration of your claim usually takes 4-5 months. If your claim is denied and you appeal, the next step depends upon where you live. 40 states, including Maine, use an intermediate Reconsideration step in the claim process. In 10 "prototype" states, denied claims proceed directly to a hearing by an administrative law judge.
For states with Reconsideration, that process usually takes another 4-5 months. Claims that are denied at Reconsideration and are appealed will go to a hearing.
The wait time for a hearing varies dramatically in different regions of the country. In Maine, the average processing time is just about 9 months, which is a country-leading performance. In other parts of the country, average claim processing times are significantly longer, and can be as long as 24 months.
Tip: To shorten your wait, appeal a denied claim right away.