If you have filed a disability claim in North Carolina, you will most likely wait a few months before getting any kind of decision. Unfortunately, many disability applicants have no idea what is going on with their case during these months. Initial disability claims are taking anywhere between thirty and one hundred and twenty days to receive a decision.
If your disability claim has been at DDS (all disability applications are processed at disability determination services in Raleigh NC) for a month or so, you should get the status; you should not assume everything is going fine with your disability claim.
Why is this so important? There are numerous instances in which a person has not followed up on their case only to find out that, through some error, the case was never transferred to DDS by the Social Security office where the claim was taken. Or, worse, the case was denied, the claimant was not notified, and the time period for filing an appeal has run out.
By contacting the examiner working on your disability claim you may be able to provide additional information that could help expedite the processing of your disability claim.
You may also find, as we stated, that your disability claim has been denied and for some reason you have not received your official denial notice. It is important to know when your disability claim has been denied because any appeal must be filed within sixty-five days (sixty day appeal period plus five days for mailing of the notice) of the date of your notice.
Since all denial notices are sent via the postal service, there is always a chance your denial notice will not reach you. By routinely checking the status of your disability claim you avoid missing your chance to appeal a denial.
If your initial disability claim is denied by the North Carolina DDS (Disability Determination Services), you can appeal it with a reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeals undergo the same process and are sent back to DDS for a review by a different disability examiner. Currently, reconsiderations are taking about sixty days to reach a decision. If you have not heard anything within thirty days it is not a bad idea check the status of your appeal.
You can check the status of both initial disability claims and reconsideration appeals by contacting your local Social Security office; however they will only be able to tell you if a decision has been made or they are still working on your case. If no decision has been made, you may be able to get more information by contacting the examiner working on your case at Disability Determination Services in Raleigh, NC.
You can contact Social Security to get the number for Disability Determination Services, or if you have received letters from the examiner working on your case their contact information should be contained in the letter.
If you have an administrative law judge hearing appeal pending at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR, the hearings office), you are most likely wasting your time calling your local Social Security office for anything but the number for the hearing office. The only information your local Social Security office can give you about your hearing is A) that it is at the hearing office, and B) whether or not it is scheduled.
It takes a long time for most disability cases to be scheduled for hearing so do not be too concerned if you do not hear anything for quite some time. If you have a representative, they can call periodically to check the status of your disability hearing for you.