How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Getting your Social Security Disability Claim Status in Pennsylvania

If you have a pending disability application or appeal in Pennsylania, you should know that Social Security does not ordinarily provide status updates on cases. In other words, they will not routinely call a claimant to advise them as to how the case is developing, or make an estimate as to how much longer it may take to evaluate the individual's disability claim. This is because:

A) There are no deadlines for processing a disability claim. The case simply takes as long as it needs to, which is a good thing since it often takes a disability examiner weeks or months to gather all the necessary evidence and, therefore, rushing the case with an arbitrary deadline would be very counter-productive and not in the claimant's best interests.

B) Because there are no deadlines for case processing, it would be pointless to send out update notifications. In actuality, the only thing that the claimant really needs to be aware of is whether or not a decision has been made, i.e. will the claimant be qualifying for disability benefits, or will they denied for disability benefits.

Having said this, however, in the course of processing a disability case to the point of making a decision, a disability examiner may periodically contact the claimant. This can be to gain more information about the claimant's medical history or work history. Or to inquire about their normal daily activities since this type of information can provide insight into the various ways in which the claimant is functionally limited and, possibly, unable to return to work activity.

Can a claimant contact the social security administration to ask about their claim and to see what the status is?

Yes, the claimant may contact the social security office where they initially filed. However, this is usually pointless since the social security office only does the intake for the application but does not actually work on the claim.

To inquire into the status of the claim

A claimant should contact their social security office and obtain the number for the disability determination services agency in their state. This is the agency that makes decisions for an application for disability benefits.

After getting the number for DDS, the claimant can call and ask to speak to the disability examiner who is working on their case. The examiner will very often be unable to tell the claimant anything aside from the fact that the case is being worked on; however, a call to an examiner sometimes has the benefical effect of reminding the examiner to check on medical records that have been requested, or some other case processing requirement.

If a case has proceeded to the disability hearing level, then the call to the social security office should be for the purpose of obtaining the number to the hearing office. However, most claimants whose cases are at the hearing level will have representation on their disability case. Therefore, a status call that is made in this situation should be done by the claimant's disability lawyer.

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For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.