If you have filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or made a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim, it’s important to keep tabs on the status of your application. Paperwork can get lost and miscommunication may allow your claim to fall through the cracks.

Problems like these can have a real impact on whether you receive the Social Security disability (SSD) benefits you deserve. That’s why you need to keep tabs on where your claim is in the process.

The level of your claim – initial claim, reconsideration appeal or disability hearing – may influence how often you check the status. Regardless of the level, it’s a good idea to check on it from time to time.

If paperwork gets lost in a Social Security office, the entire application process stops. Without paperwork, your application won’t make it to the next step in the process, which could cost you months of “processing time” until the paperwork is found.

Or worse, if you are in the appeal stage, you might have to start all over and file an entirely new application because the Social Security Administration (SSA) decides you missed the appeal deadline, even if it is the administration’s fault.

Sometimes lost paperwork or other glitches can also lead the SSA to fail to notify an applicant that his or her case has been denied through an official notice of denial. Applicants who have been denied benefits have a maximum of 65 days from the date of their denial to file an appeal – 60 days, plus five days of mailing time. If you never receive the notice of denial, it’s impossible to file a timely appeal.

Checking the status of your claim can avoid these problems, or at least alert you that something may be wrong. It might even help you get a decision on your case faster.

In general, you can call your local Social Security office to check the status by speaking with a disability claims representative. It helps to be extremely polite when you make the call. If you have a confirmation number and password from the SSA, you can also check the status on the SSA’s website here.

If you just filed an application for disability benefits or a first-level appeal, it will probably be better to check on the status of your case with Disability Determination Services, a state-level agency. This way you can contact the disability examiner who is actually working on your claim.

Your local Social Security office can provide contact information for the Disability Determination Services office.

The situation is a bit different for applicants further along in the appeals process. If you have requested a hearing on your claim, it may be more productive to call the regional hearing office to find out what is going on with your case.

Filing for disability can be a frustrating process. Having a qualified SSD lawyer to guide you through all the steps can ease those frustrations. Your attorney can periodically check on the status of your application, reducing the chance you will get stymied by lost paperwork or other avoidable problems.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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