If you have already filed for social security disability, like any other applicant, you definitely have one question in mind; how do i know if my disability is approved? In reality, despite this being a legitimate case, it is frustrating to wait for a decision to be made. The process takes time to vet out – between four to six months, but if you are truly disabled and not able to work, don’t worry as you will receive the benefits.
How Can I Check My Application Status?
Making mistakes or being mixed up during the application process is possible. Therefore, it is important to take regular check the Social Security Disability application status instead of waiting for updates and confirmation from the Social Security Administration. Checking the status of your application is important because of many reasons. First, you could be waiting for approval so that you can make an application for a free cell phone for disabled people on social security.
By checking the status, you can find out in time if your paperwork got lost, misplaced, or hasn’t been processed yet. Mails may not reach in time or disappear during shuffles. The application might as well have been downright rejected. Regular checks enable you to know where your disability application status stands and know if there is anything you can do to expedite the process.
That said, there are two main ways of checking your disability application status. You can check online at www.ssa.gov or by making a phone call to the local SSA line or mainline. To check the status online, you should have an account with SSA’s online service. You should upload your home address, valid email address, and social security number. This means that you should be aged 18 years and above. You will also need the same information if you want to check by calling. They can be reached through 1-800-722-1213. Note that you can check the status of the disability claim without confirmation number as well by providing all other necessary information.
It is important to keep in mind that the application undergoes several stages. When checking, remember that there are different guidelines used to check the status in every review stage. Each step is guided by varying entities, which at times may make it difficult to know what to do. Check out the steps below to help you understand who you should contact for updates in each step:
Step 1 – During the Initial Application Stage
After submitting your application for disability benefits, you should follow up on the status at regular intervals. This will enable you to know if your claim has stalled for specific reasons and address any needs for further evidence or documentation necessary. During this stage, you can check your claim status by contacting your local SSA office, contacting a disability examiner assigned to your case or checking the progress online, if you made the application online through SSA’s website.
If the claim has been submitted to the Disability Determination Services, the office assigns a claims examiner. You should also receive a phone call or documentation of the same. If your assigned disability examiner hasn’t contacted you, don’t hesitate to contact the local SSA office.
Step 2 – Reassessment of the Claim
If your initial claim was denied, most states would require that you request a reassessment of the initial claim before reapplying. After submitting your reconsideration forms, you should check the progress from the local SSA’s office or disability examiner assigned to follow up on your claim. The first and second step makes up the first appeal stages of making a disability claim.
Step 3 – Second Appeal – ALJ Hearing
The second level of making an appeal for most states is hearing the appeal before an administrative law judge. Once the claim has been submitted for the hearing, the DDS no longer handles the claim. It has proceeded to the hearing officer at the Office of Hearings Operations, where it has to wait for a hearing date to be set. You can check your claim by calling the local SSA office or claims examiner if the file has not been transferred. If it has been transferred, you should contact the Office of Hearings Operations, formerly the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
Once your claim has been placed for a disability hearing, you may not hear anything for months. So to say, most SSA disability hearing offices have backlogs of cases that take more than one year to get an administrative judge hearing. Nonetheless, it is important to check on the status at least once after filing a hearing request, just to make sure that the application paperwork hasn’t been lost. You will receive a notification through mail once the hearing date has been set.
If the case is at the hearing level, it is not productive to check the status through your local Social Security Office, where you placed the claim. This is because the hearing office is an independent and autonomous office. Social Security Personnel will thus have little information about the status of your hearing request. Instead, make calls to the hearing office itself. The notice for hearing is usually given 75 days before the set hearing date. Once you get the dates, you should submit your latest medical records, including test results, doctor’s notes from consequent clinic appointments, new prescriptions and more.
Step 4 – Review by the Appeals Council
In the majority of disability claims cases, the process ends at the second appeal. The result of the previous step can either be positive for those who receive benefits if the judge finds them eligible or negative for those who were not found eligible for disability claims. If you are not satisfied with the ALJ’s decision, you can request a review of the case by the Appeals Council.
At this stage, it is prudent to have representation. Hire a lawyer on your own or ask the Social Security Advocate to help you out. The attorney will verify if the appeals council has received your claim and make inquiries about the status of your claim.
Step 5 – Hearing by Federal Court
This is the last step of disability claim processing. This is typically hearing a lawsuit against the Social Security Office by the Federal Court. Here, your attorney will come in handy in updating you on the status of the disability claim turned lawsuit. Since it is a lawsuit, you will be communicating directly with your legal counsel.
What To Do If There Is a Delay in Check Disability Claim
As mentioned above, checking the status of your claim periodically not only alleviates uncertainty but also enables you to intervene in time if necessary. For instance, if the application stalls because the local SSA is waiting for medical records from a specific doctor, you can contact the doctor’s office immediately to spur them into action. If it takes time to receive an official mail from the SSA’s office, don’t hesitate to contact them.
Additionally, you should crosscheck that you provided them with the right address during the application. If you relocated after making the application, make a point of updating the necessary offices with your current mailing address. If there are other concerns delaying your claim, contact your attorney for assistance. The disability application process at times would become complex, especially if you had previously been denied. An attorney can expedite the process and avoid mistakes during the process.
What to Do If I Get a Denial Letter or a Partial Approval Letter?
Apart from “how do i know if my disability is approved,” another common question with those waiting for disability claim approval is what options are available if their disability claim is denied. If you receive a denial or partially favorable letter, check the details of the response carefully. SSA often provide reasons as to why your claim was denied. If you don’t agree with their reasons for limitation or denial of your claims, you can make an appeal by yourself or have a lawyer make an appeal for the benefits.
What to Do After I Have Been Approved For Disability Claim
Getting information that your disability claim from the Social Security Administration has been approved after a long wait is relieving. In most cases, the Social Security Administration will send an approval letter by mail indicating that your benefits has been approved. However, the approval letter may not be the first indication showing that your claim has been approved. If you submitted your banking information for a possible direct deposit, you would likely receive a bank deposit even before the letter arrives.
The approval and award letter from the Social Security Administration will provide the following information;
- Dates from which you are entitled to enjoy disability benefits
- Monthly amounts of disability benefits awarded
- Dates the monthly benefits will start
- Amount you should payback
- Taxable percentage of the benefits
Hopefully, this guide has outlined some of the major concerns for those hoping to receive disability claims from the Social Security Administration. Majorly, for those asking, “how do i know if my disability is approved,” the direct answer to this is by checking the application status periodically. As a rule of thumb, you should check the status once in thirty days. Note that the possible disability benefits you can receive are calculated based on your lifetime average earnings covered by social security.