Thursday, September 13, 2007

Applied for Social Security disability, haven't heard anything, should I be worried ?

For anyone who's not familiar with the social security disability benefits system, this is a natural and fairly common sentiment.

Some individuals might offer advice such as the following: "All disability claims take a long time, don't worry about it". However, that's not necessarily the best advice to follow.

True, there's not really any point to checking the status of your disability case every week (or even every month); however, you do need to check the status of your case in the following situations.

1. After you have to file for disability. Why? Because there are instances in which claimants file applications for disability, wait for several months, and then learn that the social security office never forwarded their claim to the state agency responsible for rendering medical determinations on social security disability and SSI claims (this agency is known in most states as disability determination services and it is at this agency that a claimant's case will be assigned to a disability specialist, or examiner, so medical records may be evaluated and a decision can be made).

So, if you've applied for disability with social security, it may not be a bad idea to call the social security office or to call the state disability agency in your state to verify that the claim was actually sent out for processing. Over the years, I've run into many dozens of situations where a social security office dropped the ball this way---costing a claimant months of "lost time".

2. If you've gone through the motions of filing a request for a disability hearing, you should, at some point, contact the hearing office that has jurisdiction over your area. Why? For the same reason that was listed in the first example. On occasion, the social security office will FAIL to send a file to a hearing office after a claimant, or a claimant's disability attorney has sent in a "request for hearing before an administrative law judge". I have personally seen dozens of situations in which a hearing request was mailed in and a claimant called to check the status of the request many months later----only to find that the hearing office never got the request from the social security office.

What is the remedy on situations like this? There really isn't one. Typically, what you get out of the social security office when something like this happens is "Oops, Sorry". However, for the claimant, getting a disability case delayed by several months can literally mean the difference between financial solvency and disaster.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Disability in the Various States:

Tennessee Disability
New York Disability
Pennsylvania Disability
Washington Disability