There is no “correct” time to check the status of a disability claim, so you can get the status of your disability claim any time you wish to do so. There are times, though, when disability decision letters and hearing notification letters are lost in the mail. For this reason, it is not a bad idea to sporadically check the status of your disability claim. You may even find that there has been a decision made or a hearing has been scheduled.
April was a busy month for Social Security’s Facebook feed. You can learn about our programs by watching our Facebook Live events. These video presentations have a conversational tone that may be more appealing to some viewers.
You can restream all of our April programs on YouTube:
•Tuesday, April 3 – Kickoff National Social Security Month Facebook Live
•Tuesday, April 10 – Spanish Facebook Live (with Diana Varela)
•Wednesday, April 18 – National Social Security Month Facebook Live (with BJ Jarrett)
•Tuesday, April 24 – Save Smarter for Retirement
Social Security hosts Facebook Live events each month with special guests and subject matter experts. Your can watch our videos at www.facebook.com/SocialSecurity or www.youtube.com/SocialSecurity under the “Social Security Live!” playlist.
If your disability claim is currently pending at the initial claim (disability application) or reconsideration appeal levels, your case will be at DDS. The number for the state disability agency, known in most states as Disability Determination Services (DDS), can be obtained by contacting your local Social Security office.
When you call the number for DDS, you will be asked your social security number and then connected to the disability examiner who is handling your case. If the examiner is available, they will be able to quickly give you a status update. However, one of the advantages of calling for your status is that the examiner may use this opportunity to pull your file and gather additional information from you if it is needed. Your case may even be finished that day if it turns out the examiner was waiting for the opportunity to obtain last-needed information from you before deciding the claim.
If your disability claim is pending at the disability hearing level, meaning that a request for hearing was previously submitted, there is not necessarily a need to be concerned if you do not hear anything for several months. Currently, disability claimants are waiting anywhere from five to fifteen months to be scheduled for a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Having said this, though, it is still a good idea to call for the status of your hearing request at least once. This is simply to ensure that the Social Security office did, in fact, receive the hearing appeal that either you or you disability lawyer submitted and, secondly, to ensure that the hearing request resulted in the case being transferred from the Social Security office to the hearing office, known officially as ODAR, the office of Adjudication and Review.
If your case is pending at the hearing office, you or your representative can contact your local Social Security office or the hearing office to check the status of your disability claim. Again, it is usally better to contact the office that is actually working on the claim. In this case, that would be the hearing office. And, once again, this contact number can be obtained from the Social Security office.
Generally, you will be contacted by a disability examiner within a few weeks of filing your claim. This is because, during the processing of your case, the examiner will often have questions about one or more of your medical treatment sources, some aspect of your work history, or will need to gather additional information about the daily activities that you engage in.
If your disability claim requires a consultative examination (usually, a CE, or consultative exam, is ordered when your records show that you have not been seen by a medical professional within the last 90 days), you may hear from the examiner even sooner. If you have not received any contact in a few weeks, of course, it is, at that point, not a bad idea to check the status of your disability claim.
This can be done by contacting your local Social Security office where you filed, by calling the toll free Social Security number, or by calling the disability examiner working on your case. Unfortunately, the toll free line is a poor source of information and, even worse, is often a source of incorrect information, so it is not advisable to use it. Calling the Social Security field office is not much more productive since the only answer they will be able to give you with regard to the status of your case is that the case is still pending, or undecided. The most productive option is to call the office that is actually working on your SSD or SSI claim.
If you or your representative have filed your claim for disability with the Social Security Administration and after a number of weeks or months hear nothing about your claim, the question quickly becomes: “Can you find out the status of your disability claim?”
Once you file your Social Security disability claim, you should expect not to hear anything for a while. Your disability claim is sent by the Social Security office where you filed to DDS, or disability determination services. Once your claim arrives at DDS, it is assigned to a disability examiner who then requests medical records from the medical treatment sources you provided at disability application interview.
The examiner also sends out questionnaires to both you and your third-party person contact person (these questionnaires address your ability to perform your normal daily activities), and schedules consultative medical examinations when needed. As you might imagine, it takes some time to get all the information necessary to make the disability decision.
In April, we celebrated National Social Security Month. We want to encouraging everyone to take control of their future by seeing what they can do online.
For over 80 years, Social Security has changed to meet the needs of our customers. Today, you can apply for retirement, disability, and Medicare benefits online; find answers to over 200 of your most frequently asked questions; and much more.
Most people who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be contacted by a disability examiner at some point after filing their initial application, although they won’t necessarily receive a phone call.
Disability examiners decide SSD and SSI cases for the state disability determination services (DDS) agency, and will most likely require additional information other than that provided on the application before rendering a decision on a case.
Sometimes a disability examiner will call or write for information that applicants do not include in their medical and work histories, such as correct contact information for treating physicians, or employers, or the dates of medical treatment or employment.
In addition, applicants often receive a phone call, or a questionnaire in the mail, from a disability examiner to determine their residual functional capacity (RFC). Residual functional capacity includes all work activities, such as sitting or standing for periods of time, lifting, or the ability to concentrate or perform other mental tasks; as well as routine daily activities, such as shopping, driving, climbing stairs, house cleaning or yard work, etc., that the applicant can or cannot perform.
In most instances, a third party Activities of Daily Living questionnaire will also be needed before a disability examiner can approve a claim. Third party questionnaires are sent to someone chosen by the disability applicant to get an outside observer’s opinion on the applicant’s medical condition, and how it has changed his or her ability to function at work or at home.
For those who have not received “recent” medical treatment for their condition, a disability examiner will usually call to schedule a consultative exam (CE), frequently referred to as a Social Security medical exam. Social Security defines “recent” as within the past three months, although an examiner can schedule a CE any time he or she feels more information is needed to determine if the applicant is currently disabled.
Disability applicants should be sure that their correct address and phone number is available to the social security disability examiner, and inform the local social security office immediately if that information changes.
Failing to keep an open line of communication with the disability examiner deciding your claim could result in a denial based not on your medical condition but on the examiner’s inability to get the information needed to make a decision.
The maximum amount of earnings that is subject to the Social Security tax is $128,400 in 2018, up from $127,200 in 2017. There is no limit to the amount of income subject to the Medicare tax.
The Social Security figures and limits for 2017 can be found in the 2017 update.
Effective date: Jan 01, 2018
If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security (SSI) Income, or Medicare, you can get a benefit verification letter online by using your personal my Social Security account. This letter is sometimes called a “budget letter,” “benefits letter,” “proof of income letter,” or “proof of award letter.” Organizations may request this letter from you if you apply for state or local benefits, a mortgage, assisted housing, or a loan.
You can also get proof that you have never received Social Security benefits or Supplemental Security Income, or proof that you have applied for benefits.
To get any of these kinds of benefit verification letters, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
If you can’t or don’t want to use their online account, or you need a letter for a dependent, you can call at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
An applicant for disability benefits through the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or SSI programs must be making less than $1,180 per month (up from $1,170 per month in 2017) to qualify for benefits. (Blind applicants can make up to $1,970 per month). Anyone working above those limits is considered to be doing “substantial gainful activity” (SGA).
People who are currently receiving SSDI who attempt to return to work through a trial work program will have a month count as a trial work period month if they make more than $850 per month (up from $840 per month in 2017).
For people who are receiving SSI, the new federal income limit for SSI is $750 per month, but complicated rules govern what income is countable and what income is not. Over half of the income made by an SSI recipient is not counted toward the limit, so you can actually receive SSI until you make up to $1,584 per month (if you have no other income). However, any income received between $0 and $1,584 will reduce the monthly benefit. In some states that make extra payments to SSI recipients, the income limit for SSI recipients may be higher.
The income exclusion amount for students receiving SSI is now $1,820 per month (up to an annual limit of $7,350).