Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Common Social Security Disability Complaint - Getting through on the phone line

You've decided to file for disability and have called your local social security office multiple times and can't get through. Or, you have an application for disability and are wondering about the status of your case. You call and call, and can't get through. Or, in yet another scenario, you actually receive disability benefits and you have work activity to report. Again, you call and call, and can't ever get anything other than a busy signal.

Is this uncommon? No. It is very much the norm and quite common. In fact, this is one of the benefits of having a disability representative. When it comes to checking the status of a pending claim, they'll do the calling for you. And if you have a question to ask, or something to respond to, you can simply call your social security lawyer (or non attorney representative) and have them field the call for you.

However, even if you or your rep get through to the D.O. or F.O. (social security district office or field office), there's another wrinkle in the equation of attempting to contact the social security office. You may get through and have to leave a message on someone's voice mail.

As many claimant's and representatives will tell you, getting someone at SSA to return a call can be...unpredictable. That is to say, you may receive a quick call back, you may receive a call back after several messages, or you may not receive one at all.

The fundamental problem, of course, is the increasing workload at the social security field offices. That, and a workforce whose numbers are in decline.

What should you, as a claimant, or potential claimant do? The best solution, typically, is to make an in-person visit to your local social security office. Don't allow your disability application to be delayed simply because you can't get someone on the phone. And don't, if you are receiving benefits, fail to successfully report your work activity (risking possible termination of benefits and/or an overpayment situation).

Can't you simply call the social security administration's toll free line? Yes, you can. But, personally, this is not something I would recommend. The quality of responses from the personnel at the toll free number is not particulary good (i.e., they often give out wrong information).

In the case of filing for disability, can't you just do it online? Yes, but you will, inevitably, need to speak with a claims rep (claims reps are the individuals who take retirement and disability claims at field offices) anyway (for a variety of reasons) so it really makes more sense to simply get an in-person disability interview scheduled and have your paperwork done in a local office.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog