Sunday, December 02, 2007

Contacting Social Security Regarding a Disability Claim

If you previously filed for disability benefits with the social security administration, you may recall that you had difficulty getting through on the phone line. Unfortunately, this type of occurrence is fairly common. Contacting a local social security office via phone can be problematic for individuals who need to apply for disability, as well as individuals who have already filed and are attempting to learn the status of their disability claim (Tip - if your case is being worked on at the initial claim or reconsideration level, contact the disability examiner who is working on your case for the status of your claim, and if you are waiting on a hearing request, have your attorney contact the hearing office to obtain the status).

Why is this such a problem? Well, its always been a problem, at least for as long as I've been connected to the disability system. In fact, years ago I began giving claimants this advice: if you have a problem that needs to be resolved, need information, or need an answer to a specific question and can't get through on the phone line make an in-person visit to the social security office. True, you shouldn't have to do that, but sometimes this is the most expedient way to get an answer to a question or a resolution to a problem. Now, of course, if you have a pending claim and have disability representation, this is a job you can pass along to your disability lawyer or non-attorney disability representative.

However, I should say that claimants who have deadlines to meet (such as for the submission of appeals or for the return of forms of paperwork) would be wise to keep track of their cases, regardless of whether they have representation or not. Because, if an appeal is submitted late without good cause, blaming an attorney or representative who goofed up on the job won't convince the social security administration that they should turn back the clock on a missed deadline for an appeal.

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