The SSDI Claim Processing Time is Getting Faster. Here’s Why

A person is delivering a claims folder to another person

The establishment of online video hearings has reduced the SSDI claim processing time. In the fall of 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) introduced an online video hearing option for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claimants. The virtual platform shortened the average processing time for disability hearings by 25%.

How Processing Time Reduced

Since March 2020, disability hearings were being conducted via telephone. The full adoption of video hearings had a significant impact on processing times. Video technology made hearings run smoother because technical issues remain minimal. It lacks the communication issues and technical glitches that come up during telephone conversations.

Telephone hearings often slow down due to the confusion created by several participants speaking concurrently. By not having multiple parties involved in the same telephone conversation, video hearings improved clarity in communication. 

Although the SSA was working on the use of video technology for close to a decade, the full implementation took place in September 2020. The SSA upgraded its outdated systems, making the transition to video hearings seamless. Disability benefits attorneys, medical experts and witnesses can access video hearings easily using any camera-enabled communication device.

The Benefits of Shorter Processing Times

The improved efficiency that online video hearings brought has shortened SSA processing times. In 2019, the average processing time was 502 days. In 2020, the average processing time reduced to 390 days, representing a drop of 25%.

With shorter processing times, the SSA can process people’s disability cases quicker. This leads to a faster decision for claimants. It has led to faster approval times for some disability claims. For instance, Compassionate Allowances (CAL) cases seem to be progressing through SSA’s system faster as a result of the shift to online video hearings.

Getting approved for disability benefits faster allows claimants to get the funds they require to pay their medical bills and basic living expenses like housing, clothing and food much faster. Quicker financial assistance also compensates for lost wages that a disability causes.

With online video hearings making the disability claims process easier, a claimant can be more at ease knowing he or she can attend the hearing from his or her home or any other private place. A disability benefits attorney can now request an online hearing to help the process move faster, in addition to assisting the claimant to gather persuasive evidence to strengthen the case.


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