Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Social Security Disability and SSI Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Ask a question, get an answer
How do you find out if a Social Security disability claim has been approved or even denied?
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: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria