What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If your disability claim is denied or approved, Social Security will send you a notice of decision in the mail. Most often, if your disability claim has been denied, the state disability agency responsible for making the decision, will send you a denial letter.
Note: In most states, the state agency that has been given the responsibility of making decisions on Social Security Disability and SSI claims is DDS, or disability determination services. This is the agency where disability examiners work to process claims, chiefly by gathering and carefully evaluating a claimant's medical evidence.
Checking the status of the case
Just a quick reminder: decisional notices are just one of several reasons that you should keep Social Security appraised of your current mailing address. If you move while you are awaiting a decision, you should notify both the disability examiner working on your case and the local Social Security office where you began your claim.
If you have not received a decisional notice from Social Security within ninety days of initially filing, it may be helpful to contact Social Security to check on the status of your disability claim.
If you are approved
If you are approved for Social Security disability, you will receive both a notice of decision indicating the claim has been approved and a notice of award letter indicating what benefits will be paid. A notice of award is not sent by the state disability agency that made your disability determination, but, instead, by the Social Security Administration itself.
Note: SSI disability claims that are approved by a disability examiner are sent back to the local Social Security office for an end-line interview. This interview is used to determine if the applicant still meets all of the non-medical requirements of the SSI program (concerning income and assets). If they do continue to meeet these requirements they will receive an award notice, if not, they will receive an official denial notice.
It should be pointed out that SSI disability applicants can meet the medical disability qualifications, but still be denied disability benefits for a variety of non-medical reasons. If the applicant is a single individual and their countable assets exceed $2000 in value, they will be ineligible to receive SSI benefits. If the applicant is married, the limit for countable assets is $3000.
Income can disqualify the applicant from receiving SSI benefits if they are working and earning more than the SGA earned income limit. However, the income of a spouse can also be partially counted (this is referred to as "deeming") in determining eligibility for SSI and may also disqualify an SSI applicant.
All of these potential situations exist, of course, because SSI is a need-based program. SSD, or Social Security Disability, by contrast, does not take need into consideration and so countable assets are not an issue. Generally, the only non-medical reason for a Social Security disability claim to be denied is the performance of SGA-level work activity during the disability decision making process.
To sum up, you will always receive an official written notice with regard to the decision of your disability case. However, you should check the status of your disability claim once in a while to make sure a decision has not been made to avoid the risk of having your sixty-day appeal period lapse (if it turns out that you were denied and did not receive notification). Social Security, of course, uses the postal service to send their notices, so there is a chance that your notice could get lost in the mail.
If you have disability representation, of course, your representative will receive a copy of everything that is mailed to you and this will help minimize the chance that you will miss notification of actions on your case.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Individual Questions and Answers
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials