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

How do you find out if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or denied?

This page addresses two basic issues, which are 1. How is a person notified of a disability decision after that decision has been made by Social Security and 2. How do you find out what is happening with your case (i.e. getting the status) regardless of whether the case is being worked on as a disability application, an appeal, or is at the hearing office (either waiting for a hearing, or waiting for a hearing decision).

Getting a decision notice after you are approved

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 disability claim 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. DDS is the agency where disability examiners make decisions and process claims, chiefly by gathering and carefully evaluating a claimant's medical evidence.

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 meet these requirements they will receive an SSD or SSI award notice, if not, they will receive an official denial notice.

Checking the status of the case

If you want to check the status of your disability case, you can do this, or your disability attorney or disability representative can do this for you. Generally, it involves just a quick phone call.

If your case is at the disability application level, it is pointless to call the Social Security office where you applied. This is because they do not actually work on the case and they will only know if you have been approved or denied once the disability examiner assigned to the case has made a decision.

To get a real status update, call the disability agency in your state that is working on the case. In most states, the agency is named DDS, disability determination services. In some states, it is referred to by a slight variation of this name, such as the disability determination division. You can get the number for DDS from the Social Security office. When you call DDS, they will generally ask for your name and social security number and then connect you to your examiner. This is often a good opportunity for the examiner to ask you any additional questions about your medical or work history, or your daily activities and limitations.

How often should you check on your case?

When your case is initially being worked on, probably more than once every 90 days would be too much. However, you can always have your disability lawyer conduct periodic followups. If your case is at the disability hearing level, meaning you have requested a disability hearing but have not had one yet, you or your lawyer can call the hearing office to check on scheduling but there is usually not much benefit in doing this after you or your attorney have confirmed that they received the request for hearing. If you have already had your disability hearing, perhaps you might want to have you or your lawyer call once every 90 days to check the status of your hearing decision.

Tips for keeping up with the status of your case

Just a quick reminder: decisional notices are just one of several reasons that you should keep Social Security apprised 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.

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.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

What is the Difference Between Filing A New Disability Claim And Filing A Disability Appeal?
How Likely Is It That A Social Security Disability Claim Will Be Won Prior To The Hearing Level?
How do you find out if a Social Security Disability claim has been approved or even denied?
What Happens When You File A Second Social Security Disability Claim?
What Happens in the processing of a disability claim after you file?
A Short Checklist for Filing A Disability Claim Under SSI or SSD
Will a disability claim be Handled Differently if Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
How to Claim Disability Benefits through Social Security
How to claim disability benefits in North Carolina
Will I qualify for disability if I tried to go back to work?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

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.