Filing for social security disability (SSD) or supplemental security income (SSI) benefits can be a long process. It typically requires you to wait for months before you get a response from anyone at SSA. Your wait is particularly difficult when you are struggling to pay your bills because you cannot work.
Status Updates DURING the Initial Application
SSA provides an online application that allows you to obtain the status of your initial claim. You can check it out here. You will need your application number in order process your request. You can also get a status update by contacting a representative at your local social security office.
You may also contact the disability examiner at the state agency reviewing your claim. This professional works at a disability office on the state level instead of with the SSA. It is typically easier to reach the disability examiner to ask questions about a specific application than it is to reach a representative at the SSA who can find information related to your application.
The disability examiner is able to tell you whether a decision is pending or complete, but the examiner cannot tell you whether the application was approved or denied.
A disability examiner may also be able to assist you with expediting the review process. However, it is important to understand that applications can only be expedited in special circumstances. An knowledgeable Louisiana SSD attorney can help you better understand how to have the application process expedited.
Status Updates After the Initial Application but prior to the ALJ Hearing
Application status updates following the initial application (or a reconsideration) can be obtained by contacting the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) disability examiner. However, the disability examiner can only tell you whether the case is scheduled, ready to schedule or currently being processed. They do not make a decision on the case and cannot tell you whether the case is approved or not.
Updates Following the ALJ Hearing
Once your hearing is held, again the ODAR disability examiner can help best. Again however, they usually do not tell you if you were approved or denied, but only if the case was decided, still being decided, or further information is needed.
Getting Help From a Professional
An experienced New Orleans SSD lawyer can help you complete paperwork in a timely manner and file appeals quickly. Application forms can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming but completing these forms in the proper manner in a timely fashion can help make the decision quicker.
While, some people think it is important for you to be proactive about seeking status updates, I believe it is more important to ensure that you have provided all of the information necessary to make a decision quickly. Whether or not you are being represented by a disability attorney, this is the most important thing to getting a timely decision. Gathering updated information related to the status of an application can help you discover whether there were errors or omissions in the application that require you to provide updated information to the SSA.