Figuring Out Your Social Security Disability Claim Status
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a stressful process and waiting to find out status of your application can be nerve-wracking. Knowing the status of your claim will ensure that you can take appropriate action without delay. For example, if your claim in pending because a response from your doctor’s office is awaited, then you can directly contact your doctor and expedite the process.
Stage 1: Application
At the application stage, to find out your claim’s status, you can:
- Call your Social Security Administration (SSA) office
- You can log onto the SSA website and check the status of your claim online here: Social Security Disability Claim Status. Please remember, if you do not have an online social security account and you did not file your claim online, you will not be able to check your status online.
- Contact your disability examiner
A separate office, called the Disability Determination Services (DDS), evaluates a disability claim. Once your case has been forwarded to the DDS, you should receive a phone call from their office, along with a mail receipt of your claim.
Your disability examiner will be able to tell you if the case has been decided, but cannot tell you whether the claim has been approved/declined – only the SSA office makes the final decision. In case your claim is still pending you can ask if there is anything you can do to expedite the process.
Stage 2: Reconsideration (First Appeal)
In most states of the US, the first thing to be done if your claim is denied is to file for a reconsideration. However, in certain areas such as the state of New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the Los Angeles area of the state of California, the reconsideration stage has been done away with, and the claim is directly sent to the hearing stage of the appeal.
After you submit the reconsideration forms, this stage follows the same protocol as the application stage.
Stage 3: Appeal Hearing (Second Appeal)
In case your claim is still denied, then you will need to submit a form requesting a hearing in front of Administrative Law Judge (AJL). You can either call your SSA office or the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) to check for the status of your claim or details on you hearing date.
Stage 4: Review by the Appeals Council
By Stage 3, most claims are either approved, or the claimant gives up appealing. However, you can file a request to the Appeals Council to review the AJL’s decision.
Most applicants either have a Social Security advocate or a lawyer represent them at this stage. To check the status of your claim at this stage, you can call 1-703-605-8000.
Stage 5: Federal Court Appeal
This is the final step of an appeal, where you file a civil lawsuit against the SSA. At this stage you require an attorney to represent you, who will follow up on the status of your case.
Click here for further reading on Social Security disability status