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I submitted my Social Security application for disability benefits. What is next?

By   /  March 3, 2016  /  12 Comments

Learn what you can do after you file your Social Security application for disability and while you wait for a decision on your disability claim.

after social-security-application submittedTime to Wait

You’ve heard that saying “hurry up and wait.” Well, after you have filed your Social Security application, one of your primary jobs is to wait. The Social Security Administration estimates that it takes three to five months to process the average new claim. For more information about processing times, please visit our article “After I File a Disability Claim, How Long Does It Take the Social Security Office to Make a Determination?”

Respond Quickly during Your Social Security Disability Review

While you are waiting, there are a few things you can do to be sure your claim is as strong as it can be. First, be sure you respond to all inquiries as quickly and as completely as possible. Social Security sends your claim to an agency of your state for the disability decision. This means that you could receive letters and phone calls not only from your local Social Security office but also from your state’s Disability Determination Services, known as DDS. A quick response is important to keeping your claim on track. If you are having trouble providing what is requested, be sure to tell Social Security or the DDS that you are working on getting the information. For a discussion of how the DDS evaluates your disability claim, see our article “How Does the Social Security Administration Apply Social Security Disability Laws to Determine If I Am Disabled?”

Report Changes that Affect Your Disability Claim

The second thing that is important to do while your claim is being reviewed is to keep Social Security and the Disability Determining Services up to date with changes in your health, in your health care providers, and in your medical treatment. It’s even a good idea to have a relative or friend ready to inform Social Security if you are hospitalized. Similarly, it is important to report changes in your address, telephone number, and other contact information so that there is no breakdown in communication about your claim.

Check on Your Social Security Disability Claim Status

If an excessively long time passes without a decision on your Social Security application, contact the Social Security Administration to be sure that the claim is still pending and that a notice of decision has not gone astray. You can do this by calling Social Security’s toll-free number, (800) 772-1213 or by visiting your local Social Security office. For a guide on what to do if a denial letter was sent, but you didn’t receive it and you missed the deadline to appeal, see our article “I Didn’t Get my Social Security Disability Denial Letter so I Missed the Appeal Deadline. What Should I Do?”

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  • Published: 1 year ago on March 3, 2016
  • By:
  • Last Modified: December 1, 2016 @ 9:33 pm
  • Filed Under: Apply for SSD
  • Deb

    I have been off work since April 2016 due to work-related stress and anxiety. STD was denied since being work related and I am currently in the appeals process with WC (mediation meeting is scheduled for October). Since being off work my therapist has determined that I have cognitive deficits that effect my concentration and memory and it is unknown at this time whether I will recover full function. I also have fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgrens syndrome and herniated lumbar & cervical discs and use a cane. My physical condition has deteriorated due to the stress but the additional cognitive deficits along with my physical condition has made it apparent that I can no longer work and I have applied for SSD. I am 60 years old and have a documented work history of 42 years. Pending a determination from my STD appeal my employer allowed me to first take FMLA (the STD appeal was denied and my FMLA ended on 29Jun). My employer subsequently approved a personal leave that ends today. I havn’t had any income since April and am living off a withdrawal from my 401K. Do I need to notify them that I will not be returning to work and should I advise them that I have filed for SSD? Or should I apply for an extension of my leave? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Deb,

      You need to decide whether you want to ask for an extended leave when you do not expect to return to work. You could consult with an attorney who specializes in employment issues for some ideas and advice. You might also check to see if you are covered by a long-term disability (LTD) policy through your employer. If you are, you may be eligible for LTD benefits even though you have a workers comp (WC) claim pending. If you are approved for LTD and later for workers comp, you likely would have to use repay some or all of the LTD with the workers comp back pay, but in the meantime the LTD policy would give you some income.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • liz

    Dear Kay, l am 55 years old and have not worked for 4 years due to injuries received from accident on job. I have back issues, mental illnesses, bladder and bowel issues. I’m at the reconsideration stage. I’ve been told that the more education you have the likelihood of being approved are slim. I have a technical degree in maintenance which I’ll never be able to use due to my limitation. Do I stand a chance of being approved? All the jobs that I’ve had required heavy lifting and being on my feet 7 out of 8 hours.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Liz,

      Given the specificity of your degree and your work history and age, if your limitations are accepted your claim may be approved.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • IB

    I have been waiting on an initial decision for 8 months now. Partly scheduling problems with Disability Doctor which is why it’s taken so long. That is complete now and I called my adjudicator and he said they were finalizing a letter. I informed him I have new medical records and he had me fax it in. I had the exact same thing happen to my right knee that happened to my left knee. Torn meniscus, bony Spurs, mild joint effusion, and primary osteoarthritis. My treating physician filled out a RFC and stated I have little mobility. My urid acid levels were high which may be gouty arthritis. I believe I was going to be denied but with this new Information do you think they are really going to take a second look? My file is in the state as office being reviewed by the doctor. Will I have to wait another few months for a decision? I’m 49 and realize it’s hard getting disability for osteoarthritis but surgery in both knees for a tear should be something. Also, my knee that I had surgery on is still hurting. The surgery only repaired the tear not the osteoarthritis. I have not scheduled surgery for the other knee yet because I’m trying to let that heal from surgery in August 2015. Do I stand a chance? I was also prescribed a tripod cane and received a disability placard from the state. Does that help?

    • IB

      Meant to say my physician prescribed me a cane and filled out form for me for disability parking card.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear IB,

      Whether or not you are approved may depend on whether there are occupations you can perform that are mostly sedentary (seated). Your work history and age will be taken into consideration. If the nearly complete decision was an approval, the new evidence will not extend the time. If the pending decision was a denial, it is possible that the new evidence will trigger a new round of reviews; so, yes, it could take a couple more months for a decision.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

  • evelyn

    I have a question if I could, I won my disability case nd just received a letter from the judge that says he does not approve off the fee agreement between me and my attorney because the ss administration did not receive the written agreement between me and my representative does this mean I wont get paid my money?’

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Evelyn,

      No, it means that Social Security will not pay your attorney directly from your back pay because they didn’t receive or mislaid the paperwork. You may have to pay the attorney yourself, using some of your back pay when you receive it.

      Sincerely,
      Kay

      Sin

  • I HAVE HAD SEVERAL PHYSICAL PROBLEMS WHICH MAKE WORKING AN UNBELIEVABLE DIFFICULTY. I HAVE BEEN UNDER THE CARE OF A PAIN MANGEMENT DR FOR MORE THAN 10 YRS. MY HEARING HAS GROWN WORSE TO THE POINT WHERE ONE EAR (RIGHT) IS COMPLETELY GONE AND THE LEFT IS USELESS WITHOUT AN AID. I HAVE KIDNEY DAMAGE WHICH CAN BE EXPECTED TO GROW WORSE.I WOULD VERY MUCH NEED TO WORK BECAUSE MY SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENT IS FAR FROM ENOUGH TO GET BY. THESE REASONS ARE MORE THAN SUFFICIENT TO PLACE ME ON DISABILITY.

    • PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THE ABOVE.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Joy,

      Please clarify a couple things for me so I can respond. How old are you? You mention getting Social Security, but also mention wanting to get on disability. How much are you receiving in Social Security now?

      Thank you,

      Kay

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