Getting your Social Security Disability Claim Status in Illinois

Most people who file for SSD or SSI. are already feeling the strain of a reduced earning capacity, and, of course, would like a decision on their case as soon as possible. It usually takes anywhere from a few weeks to 3 or 4 months to receive a decision on an initial claim; perhaps even longer depending upon current backlogs in your particular state.

However, if you have filed for Social Security Disability or SSI in Illinios, do not expect to be kept informed about the status of your claim.

SSA has never had a policy of sending out current status information on pending claims. And, truthfully, because Social Security has so many disability applications filed (the number of applications each year is currently over 2 million nationwide and climbing), it does not have the time or resources to update applicants about the status of their claims.

However, it is advisable for those who file for disability in Illinios (or any state, really) to periodically check on their claim status (though those with legal counsel should find that this is taken care of for them).

Why check on the status of your claim?

Since there is no set deadline for a disability examiner to render a decision, you have no way of knowing if your claim is waiting to be reviewed, lost on someone's desk, or held up because the disability examiner is missing information he or she needs to make a decision.

Although you should wait a few weeks before following up with Social Security, if you haven't heard anything within that timeframe, you should try to find something out for your own peace of mind. Waiting for weeks upon weeks only to discover that nothing is happening with your application because it was misplaced or because your physician has failed to comply with a request for your medical records is not only frustrating, but can potentially worsen your financial situation.

Of course, before you can check on the status of your claim you need to know the best place to call. If your claim is at the initial application level or reconsideration appeal level in Illinios, the Social Security office where you filed your claim will not be in a position to tell you much, other than whether or not a decision has been made and if the case is still pending.

That said, you should still contact your local Social Security office and ask for the number to the state disability determination services (DDS) offices. DDS makes all decisions on applications and reconsideration appeals for Social Security, and it is here that you can locate the disability examiner assigned to your case.

The examiner will not be able to tell you what your decision is, even if one has been made (because decisions can be altered by quality control units, the decision is not considered final until the case is transferred back to the Social Security office where it originally began).

However, the examiner will be able to tell you if any medical records have come in, if they are having trouble locating certain records, or if they have questions about some part of your work history. They may even take the opportunity once they have you on the phone to ask you about your daily activities and how these are impacted by the functional limitations that result from your medical condition.

If your claim has already passed through the reconsideration appeal level and you have made a request for a social security hearing, neither your local Social Security office nor DDS will have information regarding your claim, or your scheduled hearing date.

At this point it's best to call the Social Security office and get the number for the hearing office, from which you should be able to find out the status of your hearing request.

Again, though, if you have a disability lawyer or a non-attorney disability representative working on your behalf, he or she will check on the status of your claim for you. Very often, the rep will do this periodically and can do this also upon your request.

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