After you’ve applied for Social Security disability benefits—either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)—you might be in for a long wait. Most people are denied initially and have to go through the process of requesting and attending a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), which could take months to occur.
While you’re waiting, it can be helpful and reassuring to know the status of your claim. Doing so will allow you to stay on top of your application and find out if any missing information is holding up the process. Be sure to notify Social Security of any address changes to ensure that all important notifications get delivered to you on time.
If you have been waiting for more than two months to hear anything, you should get an update. In general, whoever you speak to will not be able to give you information on when a decision will be made, but he or she can provide you with a general update and where your claim is in the process.
How to get claim status updates depends on where your case is in the process. The easiest way to check the status of your application is to go to the Social Security website and create an online my Social Security account.
With a my Social Security account, you will be able to see the date that Social Security received for you application or appeal, your scheduled hearing date and time, the current location of your claim or appeal, and whether a decision has been made on your claim (although you will not be able to see what the decision is).
There are alternative ways to check the status of your disability claim without registering for a My Social Security account. You can call Social Security directly at 1.800.772.1213 (TTY at 1.800.325.0778) from 8AM to 5:30PM Monday through Friday to get a status update.
If your case is pending at the initial claim level or the reconsideration level (you filed an application or you appealed an initial denial, respectively), it is better to speak directly to the disability examiner evaluating your claim than to Social Security.
Your disability examiner works for Disability Determination Services (DDS), not for Social Security, but Social Security can provide you with the contact information for your local DDS office. Depending on where you live, there is at least one DDS office in your state.
When contacting DDS, say at the outset that you are calling to check the status of your disability claim. They can tell you if your claim has been decided (but not what the decision is) and, if your claim is still pending, whether there is anything you can do to expedite your claim.
Once you have submitted your request for a hearing, your claim will move to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) while you wait for your hearing date. Although you may not hear anything for months after the request for hearing is filed, you should check the status at least once by calling the hearing office.
Even if you are just at the initial application stage, consider hiring a disability attorney to help you with your case. Among many other services provided, he or she will be able to make all the status calls on your behalf so that you have more time to focus on your health and family.