Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Calling a congressman or senator for assistance on a social security disability claim

Can you do this? Yes, it's known as a congressional inquiry and it is initiated by an applicant for social security disability or SSI disability benefits simply by calling a senator or congressperson's office. I was personally aware of one congressman who had assigned this specific function to one of his staffers.

How can a congressional inquiry help you and when should it be performed? You can actually request such an inquiry at any point in the disability evaluation process. Obviously, you wouldn't want to do this early in the initial claim phase (i.e. the application phase). But if your application seems to be taking an exceedingly long time to process you may wish to do this.

However, speaking as a former disability examiner I would say that the net effect of congressional inquiries at the initial claim and first appeal level is negligible and almost nil. In other words, typically, it has little impact on how fast a social security disability or ssi claim is processed.

Congressional inquiries seem to have more effect when a claim is pending at the hearing level. What does "pending at the disability hearing level" mean? Basically, that a disability hearing before an administrative law judge has been requested and is waiting to be scheduled. "Waiting to be scheduled", no surprise, is the operative phrase since getting a disability hearing date can take many months and, depending on how backlogged your particular hearing office is, can take up to two years or longer.

Of course, such extreme waits to get a hearing date scheduled are generally the primary motivation for claimants who seek congressional inquiries.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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