If it's been a month or two since you've heard anything about your Social Security disability claim, you should check the status of your case. Keeping on top of your case avoids unnecessary delays. For example, Social Security might request that you provide more medical or other information before it makes a decision. If you haven't provided this material, perhaps because you didn't receive the request, your case could be put on hold.
Checking the status of your case will also alert you if Social Security has made an error with your claim, such as misplacing your appeal paperwork. (Always keep a backup copy of anything you submit by mail in case Social Security loses your paperwork.)
If you just want to do a quick status check to make sure Social Security has your claim and is working on it, you can do so online or over the phone.
You can check the status of your disability case online if you have a "My Social Security" account. (Go to www.ssa.gov/myaccount/application-status.html. You'll need the confirmation number or password given to you by the Social Security Administration.)
When you check the status online, you'll see the following information about your application:
To quickly check on the status of your disability case, you can call your local Social Security office and speak to a disability claims representative. You can use the Social Security Office Locator tool to find the phone number for your local office.
You'll need to provide your name and Social Security number so that the claims rep can look up your case. The claims rep should be able to tell you where your claim is in the process, but won't be able to give you much detail on when Social Security will hand down a decision or whether there are any obstacles holding it up. For details on your claim, you should call other offices directly (more on this below).
Here are some ways to check the status of your case that will help you get more detailed information, depending on the stage of your application.
For cases pending at the initial claim level (after you filed the application) and the reconsideration level (after you filed a first-level appeal), speaking directly with the disability examiner who is evaluating your claim is usually the most helpful way to get information.
Your disability examiner works at a state agency called Disability Determination Services (DDS), not the actual Social Security Administration (SSA). Disability examiners are typically easy to reach by phone, and you can get the telephone number for your local DDS from your local Social Security office or from our state articles. Find your state article to see a list of the DDS offices in all 50 states.
When you call the DDS, state that you are calling for the status of your case. Typically, the person who answers the phone will ask you for your Social Security number and will then connect you with your claims examiner, who can quickly tell you whether or not your case is pending. If your case is still pending, ask the examiner if there is anything you can do to help expedite your claim.
If your case has been decided, the examiner can tell you this, but won't be able to tell you whether you will be approved—the Social Security office makes the final decision after it looks at all eligibility requirements and confirms that you're still not working a significant amount.
If you filed your application more than one to two months ago and you haven't heard anything, you should call DDS to check the status of your application.
If you filed a request for reconsideration (the first level of appeal) and you haven't received a decision within three months of filing the request, you should call DDS to check the status of the reconsideration.
After reconsideration, the next level of appeal is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Once you submit a request for an ALJ hearing, the claim no longer stays with the DDS. The case will move on to the hearing office, called the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), where it awaits a hearing date. (This office was formerly called the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, or ODAR.)
After you file a request for a disability hearing, you may not hear anything for many months. Many Social Security disability hearing offices are so backlogged with cases that it takes a year to get a hearing. But it's still worth it to check on the status of your case at least once after you request a hearing, to make sure the hearing office hasn't lost your appeal paperwork.
If your case is at the hearing level, contacting the Social Security office where you filed your claim to check the status of your hearing request won't help. The hearing office functions independently from Social Security. Social Security office personnel will typically have little information about the status of a hearing request.
Instead, make a "status call" on a hearing request to the hearing office itself. You can find phone numbers to the many hearing offices on OHO's website at www.ssa.gov/appeals/ho_locator.html or in our state articles, which list contact information for the hearing offices.
Once you get a Notice of Hearing (75 days before the hearing date), you should submit the latest medical records you have to the hearing office—any test results, new prescriptions, doctor's notes from clinic appointments or hospital visits, and so on.
Disability claimants who are represented by a disability lawyer or nonlawyer disability advocate can allow their representatives to make these status calls on their behalf. Your representative should periodically check the status of your case for you, both to stay up to date on the case and to avoid missing deadlines.
But if your lawyer or disability representative can't give you an update and you haven't heard anything in a while, you should protect yourself by also checking on your case every month or so.
Updated May 11, 2022