Social Security benefits help people who are too ill or infirm to hold gainful employment. Limitations that result from serious illnesses or injuries means that applicants have few financial resources to support themselves. That is why speedy processing of applications is so crucial.

While you cannot always expedite the application process, having the right information can help you navigate it more efficiently. The Social Security Administration explains a few key points so you know what to expect.

What happens after filing an application

After filing your application, you will need to attend an interview session. Interviews take place over the phone or in person, at a local Social Security office. Interviews usually take at least one hour or longer, so set aside enough time for the process to complete. It can take as long as five months for a decision regarding your case. The more detailed the information you provide, the quicker the decision-making process.

How the Social Security Administration makes decisions

A state agency will review your case on behalf of the Social Security Administration. This agency may request more information from you, or request that you undergo an additional medical evaluation. The Social Security Administration looks for two factors when making its decision. First, you must show that you cannot earn a living to support yourself because of a medical condition. Second, the Social Security Administration also considers the length of your medical condition. Only people with conditions lasting one year, or expected to last one year, or expected to end in their death are eligible.

Types of benefits you may receive

If the agency approves your application, you will be eligible for enrollment in one of two programs. You will receive Supplemental Security Income if you lack income and financial resources and cannot work. If you are an insured worker, meaning you have worked in eligible jobs for a specific period, you will receive Social Security Disability Insurance.