Are you filing an application for Social Security Disability? The process can take some time (two to four months to get a response). It can be confusing and even frustrating especially when you don’t know what to expect, what has happened to your application, or if you’re not working with an experienced attorney.
Asking questions about the process is a good thing. It will help you learn more about what is happening and what to do to improve your chances of success.
SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) is often confused with SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Although the two programs are similar and available to disabled citizens, the SSDI is not a welfare program like the SSI.
The initial application
The wait after submitting your application can be disheartening. However, it is possible to check on the status of your application. You have the option of:
- Calling your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office
- Getting in touch with your disability examiner. Each applicant is assigned a disability examiner to handle their case.
- Checking online on the status of your claim. This is only possible if you submitted your application on the SSA website.
Claims examiners are assigned to each case when the applications are transferred to the Disability Determination Services. You will be alerted of who your claims examiner is by phone call. If you’re not aware of who your examiner is, contact your local SSA office.
What to do when denied
Don’t give up if your claim is denied. There are many reasons that claims can be denied. In many cases, you can appeal the decision and successfully obtain your SSDI benefits.
If you find that your claim has been denied, you will need to appeal the claim by going to an Administrative Law Judge. In most cases, you would be wise to retain an attorney experienced in SSDI claims and appeals to represent you. You will then have to check on the status of your claim once more. At this stage, you can find out about your application’s status by:
- Contacting the local SSA office
- Getting in touch with your claims examiner. Depending on the nature of your appeal, the judge may appoint a different claims examiner for your case. You will be informed of these changes.
- Getting in touch with the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. This is only possible if your claim has already been moved to the appeals office.
After appeals hearing
If your appeal hearing fails, you can seek assistance with the Appeals Council. The council can review the decision the judge made and have your claim reviewed once again.
If all else fails, you may have to take your claim to the federal court. Suing the SSA is rare and you will need an expert attorney to represent you.