9. How long does it take to get disability benefits if I am successful?

Applying for disability benefits is a marathon not a sprint.  If you are fortunate enough to be approved at the initial level, it still takes 2-4 months (or longer) from the time you apply until you get your benefits.  A decision on the initial application usually takes 2+ months and the reconsideration level (which is often skipped for claimants in Louisiana) is similar.  These steps could take longer if the Social Security Administration sends you to a doctor of their choosing or requests additional information.  A hearing request generally takes 2-6 months, and you can expect it to take another couple of months for the decision to be mailed to you after the hearing.  It’s a bad idea to count on disability benefits to pay this month’s bills unless you have been approved and received payment information from the Social Security Administration.