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