Whether you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you will have questions throughout the process. More often than not, you’ll be wondering what the status of your claim is. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways that you can keep tabs on the state of your claim.
One way you can check on the status of your claim is to set up a “my Social Security” account on the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website. If you decide to file your claim online, you will receive a re-entry number for a claim that you have started but not submitted. Once you have created an account, you can see the date that Social Security received your application and/or appeal and, if you have requested and have been granted a hearing, the date and time of that hearing.
Through “my Social Security,” you can also see the current location of your claim or appeal, including the physical address of the office that is processing your case. The website will also allow you to see if a decision has been made on your disability case, although it will not say what the decision is. An online account will also allow you to set up or change your information for direct deposit, change your mailing address, and opt out of mailed notices if those notices are available online.
If you do not have internet access or are uncomfortable using the online resources, you can call Social Security’s toll-free phone number at 1.800.772.1213. If you are hard of hearing or deaf, you can call SSA’s toll-free TTY number at 1.800.325.0778. You can always visit your local SSA office to ask questions, but you should schedule an appointment in advance rather than show up unexpectedly.
Any time that you contact Social Security regarding the status of your claim, you should be prepared with the following information on hand: personal information, such as your Social Security number and your full name; your address; your email address (if you applied online); and your phone number.
You may wonder what SSA does after you submit your application and why it takes so long. It takes about one month from the time that you submit your claim for SSA to get all the information it requires regarding your case on file. That could be because SSA is chronically understaffed and/or because medical records that SSA requested have taken longer than expected to arrive. If after the first month passes and you’ve heard nothing, check to see if SSA needs additional information, in which case you can follow up with the necessary medical professionals and speed up the process.
After your application has been received and your claim has been forwarded to Disability Determination Services (DDS), your case will be assigned to a claims examiner. You should receive a phone call and paperwork from this person. You can call your local SSA office to find out who your DDS claims examiner is.
When you call your DDS claims examiner for a status update, he or she will be able to tell you where in the process your claim currently is and whether a decision has been made, but, again, he or she will not be able to tell you what that decision is—only Social Security makes the final decision and sends notices in the mail.
If you were denied initially, and you have submitted your Request for Consideration, expect to wait about two months to receive a decision on Reconsideration. If you have not heard anything after that, obtain a status update. Should your Request for Reconsideration result in another denial, and you submit your request for a hearing, you might wait many months or years to have your hearing scheduled. You should check on the status of your hearing at least once.
Once you have been approved for disability benefits, you can usually expect your first monthly check to arrive between 30 and 90 days after you receive your awards letter. If you have waited 90 days and still have not begun to receive benefits, contact SSA.
Remember, if you hire a Social Security disability attorney, your attorney can make all the status update requests on your behalf. It is also in your attorney’s interest to move your case along because disability attorneys do not collect any money unless you win your claim.