The answer to this question varies.  The Social Security Administration allows 120 days to review your initial application.  However, they usually only take 90 days in most cases.  There are also procedures in place for a quicker approval and allowance when dealing with certain types of diseases.  These are called compassionate allowances.  If your initial application is denied, then the next stage is the reconsideration stage and SSA can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 months.  If you are denied at the reconsideration stage, then the next stage is the hearing stage.  The waiting time for a hearing is an average of 6 months to get one scheduled.  This wait time has come down considerably from a couple of years ago when it would take 18 months on average.  My goal in representing  clients is to move their case through the system as quickly as possible.  I have been able to shorten these wait times for individuals who are in dire need.