It’s crucial that you be able to check your Social Security claim status. Simply applying and waiting on the Social Security Administration (SSA) to take the next step can lead to missed errors and, ultimately, make it easier for your claim to be denied. .
Conversely, by being aware of your claim status, you can take a proactive approach and possibly avoid these missteps.
When you apply for Social Security benefits, there is the potential for filing errors, lost paperwork, or delayed paperwork by doctors.
The three ways you can typically check your claim include:
- online, via the SSA website
- by calling the SSA directly
- through an attorney
If you can, it’s important to open a “my Social Security” account online. This helps you not only check your claim status, but also keep on top of future Social Security needs such as checking proof of benefits, updating your contact and direct deposit info, getting a copy of your SSA-1099 form, verify your earnings, request a replacement Social Security card, and more.
However, when you deal with the SSA on your own, you may be missing out on crucial guidance an attorney experienced in social security law will be able to provide during the process.
Checking Your Social Security Claim Status Online
To sign up for a “my Social Security” account, you need to have your Social Security number, a valid mailing address and email account, and be at least 18 years of age.
Once you do this, you can use your account to check:
- the date the SSA received your application or appeal
- documents requests, such as for doctors’ records
- the address of the office processing your claim
- your re-entry number for an online benefit application or online appeal that has not been submitted
- dates and times of scheduled hearings
- whether or not a decision has been reached regarding your claim
It can take roughly 30 days before all the required info is on file with the SSA. If this information is not on file within 30 days, it may be time to start contacting doctors for missing records, or check what else might be pending and why.
However . . .
Checking Your Claim Status Online Is a Limited Approach
There are limitations to dealing with the SSA on your own, whether you are checking your claim status online or via telephone.
The information online can be vague. You may get somewhat “canned” responses on the status of your claim, and you won’t necessarily know what steps to take next to maximize your chances of success.
You can call the SSA directly. Call 1-800-772-1213 for the national office, or call your local social security office. While representatives are helpful and can offer professional assistance to walk you through different stages of your claim, they won’t have a vested interest in you winning your benefits.
The feedback they’ll give you also won’t be that of an advocate. You’ll know what you can do next, but not necessarily what strategy you should employ to maximize your chance of success.
Your attorney will always have the most useful and up-to-date info on your claim. A qualified attorney who specializes in Social Security claims will devise a strategy throughout the claim process to give you the best chance at receiving the maximum benefits to which you’re entitled.
While you can check your claim status on your own, an attorney will add the benefit of their experience in navigating SSI and SSDI law, anticipating the SSA’s expectations, and ability to navigate clients through the process of appeals and hearings if their initial claim is denied.
Filing a Social Security Claim Is a Long Process. An Attorney Can Help.
When you check your claim status, often the response you’ll get is “pending.” Your claim can take anywhere from 90 days to much longer, and the constant waiting can feel frustrating and disheartening—especially if all that waiting ends in your claim being denied and a need to appeal.
Even if your case is severe, time’s not necessarily on your side.
The right lawyer can help you navigate this process with realistic expectations.
In some cases, a lawyer will try to help move you through the system more quickly if your situation calls for it.
These can include:
- military service-related disabilities
- a “compassionate allowance” illness
- a terminal illness
- a presumptive disability, or
- a “dire need,” such as lacking money for food, housing, and medicine
Still, it’s important to understand these may not always move your claim immediately to the front of the queue. Regardless of your case specifics, there will be various hurdles to overcome. And it will take time.
The right lawyer will act as an advocate, someone in your corner who can guide you through this process.
Attorneys experienced with SSI/SSDI claims can guide you through the complexities of the process, from the initial application to possible appeals and hearings. They’re up-to-date on recent changes in relevant laws and SSA expectations.
How Do I Hire a Lawyer to Help with My Social Security Claim?
A lawyer will help you not only maintain an up-to-the-moment understanding of your claim status. They will give you expert advice on how to prepare for what comes next and give you the best chance of winning your benefits.
In many cases, you don’t have to pay an attorney’s fee up front, other than a limited cost for services such as obtaining medical records. This fee (of a maximum of $6,000) is paid from your awarded back pay once you win your claim. In this case, if you don’t win your claim, no fee will be due.
Affleck & Gordon specialize in disability law and have assisted people in Atlanta for nearly four decades in practice. We’re here to help you navigate your social security claim each step of the way.
Affleck & Gordon have been helping people in Georgia just like you for over 45 years. Sign up for a free case evaluation, or call us at (404) 990-3945.