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What Mental Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability?

What Mental Disorders Qualify for Social Security Disability?

disability for mental health conditions

Every year, millions of people apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a program that provides monthly benefits to disabled beneficiaries and their families. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental disorder that keeps you from working, you may be wondering if the Social Security Administration (SSA) will consider your mental disorder a disability or not. While not everyone who applies will qualify for SSDI benefits, many people diagnosed with mental health disorders may be eligible. 

If you’re thinking of applying for disability benefits, the SSA blue book is a good place to start. In it, you’ll find listings of impairments which may meet the requirements for SSDI. It’s important to note, however, that whether or not you’ll be approved also hinges on other factors, including your work history, the severity of your condition(s), your age, education, and work skills. That being said, receiving disability for mental disorders isn’t uncommon—according to the SSA Annual Statistical Report, about 18.3% of all approved cases in 2019 were for mental disorders.

Qualifying Mental Disorders for Disability

In the blue book, mental disorders as defined by the SSA are broken up into 11 general categories, many of which contain subcategories of multiple known conditions and diagnoses.

Neurocognitive Disorders

Neurocognitive disorders are defined as a disability that results due to a clinically significant decline in cognitive functioning. Common neurocognitive disorders include Alzheimer’s dementia, vascular dementia, disease-related dementia, HIV-associated cognitive disorder, progressive brain tumors, and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Disease. Traumatic brain injuries and substance-induced cognitive disorders may also sometimes be evaluated as a neurocognitive disorder (other times they may be considered a neurological disorder).

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders

Those diagnosed on the schizophrenia spectrum or with other psychotic disorders may be considered disabled by the SSA if associated symptoms cause a clinically significant decline in cognitive or overall functioning. Common diagnoses and conditions include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, or psychotic disorders caused by another condition.

Depressive, Bipolar, and Related Disorders

disability for mental disorders

Mental disorders which cause significantly debilitating irritability, depression, sleep disturbances, suicidal ideation, trouble concentrating, grandiosity, or psychomotor abnormalities may be evaluated as a disabling condition by the SSA. Commonly included disorders include bipolar I or II, major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder (also known as dysthymia), cyclothymic disorder, or depressive disorders caused by another condition.

Intellectual Disorders

Intellectual disorders are defined as those which result in intellectual levels significantly below average, along with low adaptive functioning that manifests before the age of 22. No specific disorders are listed in the blue book, and qualifying conditions are listed only as “intellectual disabilities or intellectual developmental disorders”.

Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

The SSA classes these disorders as those which result in excessive worrying and avoidance of things, places, or people who trigger their anxiety. Relevant disorders include agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder

Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders

Somatic symptom disorder and other related disorders refer to sometimes non-specific mental disorders attributed to physical symptoms which are not fully explainable by any other mental health condition, physical condition, substance use, or culturally-sanctioned behavior. This does not include any illnesses which are feigned or intentionally produced (i.e., a factitious disorder). Sufferers may have been diagnosed with somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder, or conversion disorder.

Personality and Impulse-Control Disorders

Personality disorders are generally defined by maladaptive behavior patterns that often emerge in young adulthood and persist indefinitely. Those who have been diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, or schizotypal personality disorder may qualify under this listing. Obsessive-compulsive disorder may also be evaluated as an impulse-control disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism spectrum disorder here refers to both those diagnosed with autism with or without intellectual or language impairment. Qualitative deficits can be observed in social development, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, symbolic activity, and/or restricted and repetitive behavior patterns or interests. Behavioral difficulties, stagnation of development, and skill loss early in life may also be observed.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

disability for mental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are classed as those that occur during the developmental years in childhood or adolescence. Some of these types of disorders may not be diagnosed until adulthood. Differences in cognitive processing, issues with impulse control, motor skills, and low organization skills may be present. Applicable disorders include specific learning disorders, borderline intellectual functioning, and tic disorders (i.e., Tourette’s syndrome). 

Eating Disorders

Disability for mental disorders may also include those with eating disorders characterized by significant disturbances in eating behaviors along with excessive worry or preoccupation with body weight, shape, or size. Qualifying disorders may include anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and avoidant/restrictive food disorder.

Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

Trauma and stressor-related disorders often stems from having experienced or witnessed a traumatic or extremely stressful event. The symptoms of such disorders must significantly impair functioning. This category includes post-traumatic stress disorder, other specific stressor-related disorders, and some persistent adjustment disorders.

How To Get Disability For Mental Disorders

Before beginning the disability application process, it’s important that you understand how long it will take, the extent of medical documentation you’ll need, and how the Social Security Administration will evaluate your disability claim. Remember, simply having the symptoms or having been diagnosed with a mental health condition is not enough on its own to qualify you for benefits. 

The truth is, applying for disability for a mental health disorder can be a long and at times frustrating process. Most first-time applicants are denied, and appeals can take months. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up hope. With the help of an experienced Social Security disability lawyer, you can increase your odds of being approved the first time and strengthen your claim should you need to go through the appeals process.

To find out the difference having dedicated representation on your side can make, contact us at Social Security Disability Advocates USA today. We’ll arrange a free, no obligation consultation with our legal team to review your disability claim and help you make the right decision for you and your family. Get in touch 24/7 by calling 602-952-3200, connecting with one of our LiveChat agents, or by filling out this form to request your complimentary case review.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
Can You Get Disability For PTSD?

Can You Get Disability For PTSD?

According to the National Center for PTSD, as many as eight million Americans may be struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during any given year. PTSD is a complex mental health condition and may sometimes be complicated by conditions like traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or pre-existing depression and anxiety. 

PTSD and disability

Getting a diagnosis and managing symptoms can be difficult. When PTSD becomes chronic and debilitating, sufferers may be unable to hold down a job, maintain relationships, or care for themselves. In cases like these, it is possible to qualify for SSDI. Find out more about getting disability benefits for PTSD from Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

Is PTSD Classified As a Disability by Social Security?

In short, yes. Post-traumatic stress disorder is included in the Social Security Administration’s blue book (a list of disabling impairments the agency uses to determine eligibility). PTSD is classed as a mental disorder; more specifically, the SSA considers it a “trauma- and stressor-related disorder.”

Trauma As Defined By the SSA

According to the SSA, trauma- or stressor-related disorders may be caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic or stressful event, or learning of a traumatic event occurring to a close family member or close friend, and the psychological aftermath of clinically significant effects on functioning.”

A traumatic or stressful event may be an experience or witnessed experience that elicits feelings of intense fear, horror, and helplessness. This could be the result of active military combat, sexual or physical assault, childhood abuse, a serious car accident, or even a natural disaster. 

Signs and Symptoms of Trauma / Stressor-Related Disorders

Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop PTSD or other stressor-related disorders. Those who do may experience a wide variety and severity of symptoms that can resolve in weeks, months, or sometimes become chronic. The SSA describes some (but not all) possible signs and symptoms of this type of disorder:

  • Anxiety
  • Avoidant behavior
  • Chronic inability to experience positive emotions
  • Difficult concentrating
  • Diminished interest or participation in significant activities
  • Distressing memories, dreams, and flashbacks
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Persistent negative emotional states (i.e., fear or anger)
  • Sleep disturbances

How Hard Is It to Get Disability Benefits for PTSD?

disability benefits for PTSD

In order to be approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you’ll need to submit adequate evidence of your disability. Being diagnosed with PTSD on its own is not enough to automatically qualify you for benefits, so it’s crucial that you have the proper documentation before beginning the disability application process.

In addition to listing conditions that may qualify for disability, the blue book also describes the criteria applicants must meet in order to receive benefits. For trauma- and stressor-related disorders such as PTSD or complex PTSD, the following requirements must be met.

Qualifying for PTSD Disability

To qualify for disability benefits for PTSD or other trauma disorders, you will need to provide sufficient medical documentation of the following symptoms:

  • Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence
  • Subsequent involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event (i.e., flashbacks or nightmares)
  • Avoidance of external reminders of the event
  • Mood and behavior disturbances
  • Increases in arousal and reactivity (i.e., increased startle response or insomnia)

In addition to medical documentation of the aforementioned symptoms, you must also suffer from extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning:

  • The ability to understand, remember, and apply information
  • The ability to interact with others
  • The ability to concentrate, persist, or maintain a pace
  • The ability to adapt or manage oneself

Alternatively, you may also qualify for SSDI benefits due to PTSD if your mental disorder is considered serious and persistent. The SSA defines this as a medically documented history of the disorder for at least two years in conjunction with evidence of both of the following:

  • You have received medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychosocial support, or have been in an ongoing, highly-structured setting designed to manage and diminish the symptoms of your disorder
  • You are capable of only marginal adjustment—i.e., you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment or to demands that are not already part of your daily life

Qualifying for a Medical Vocational Allowance

disability benefits for PTSD

If your condition doesn’t meet all the SSA blue book requirements for trauma or stressor-related disorders, you still have a chance of qualifying for disability benefits for PTSD through something called medical vocational allowance. Although it might be disheartening to find out that your condition doesn’t qualify under blue book standards, the fact remains that many SSDI recipients actually qualify for their disability benefits via a medical vocational allowance.

Here’s how it works: if you don’t meet blue book requirements for a trauma- or stressor-related disorder, the SSA is still required to more closely examine your case. If your medical evidence substantiates your claim that PTSD keeps you from maintaining gainful employment, you can still be found eligible for SSDI benefits.

During the process, you’ll be subject to a residual functional capacity (RFC) exam by an SSA medical consultant. An RFC helps the SSA establish what kind of work—if any—you’re capable of performing. The results of the RFC, in addition to other factors (including your age, work history, education level, and job skills), will ultimately determine your eligibility.

How Do I Apply for Disability If I Have PTSD?

Applying for disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other Social Security programs can be intimidating. Not to mention, the SSA itself reports that more than two-thirds of first-time SSDI applications are denied. 

If you’re thinking about applying for disability benefits for PTSD, it is strongly recommended to consult a Social Security disability attorney first. An experienced lawyer who specializes in SSDI can help you gather crucial evidence and medical documentation, review your application for common mistakes that result in a denial, and walk you through the potentially lengthy and confusing appeals process..

For a free consultation regarding your case, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA. Our qualified legal team is committed to helping disabled workers get the benefits they deserve to cover day-to-day living expenses and much-needed medical and psychological care. 

To secure your free, no obligation case review, give us a call 24/7 at 602-952-3200. You can also submit your request online by filling out this form, or connect with a representative standing by via LiveChat.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
Protecting Your Benefits From a Continuing Disability Review

Protecting Your Benefits From a Continuing Disability Review

continuing disability review

It can take months (or even years) to qualify for and begin receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. After completing the waiting period, filling out your application, and appealing a denied claim, you’d think your benefits would be locked in. What many people don’t realize is that even those who have been approved for SSDI benefits may be subject to a recurring Continuing Disability Review (CDR). 

In this blog, Social Security Disability Advocates USA explains what this Social Security Administration (SSA) requirement is and how to make sure you don’t lose your benefits.

What Is a Continuing Disability Review?

A Continuing Disability Review is a medical review conducted by the SSA at least once every 3 years to confirm that a disabled person is still eligible for benefits. The good news is that passing your CDR is generally a much easier process than qualifying for disability benefits in the first place. Still, it’s important that you understand what the disability review entails and what is expected of you if you receive a CDR notice. 

Note: You will usually only be subject to a CDR every three years if your medical condition has the potential to improve. If your condition is expected to improve, your case may be reviewed more often, between every 6 to 18 months. Those who have been recognized as permanently disabled by the Social Security Administration will still have their cases reviewed, just not as frequently—every five to seven years, on average. 

How Long Does a Continuing Disability Review Take?

How long the disability review process takes depends on whether your disability is caused by a medical condition that is expected to improve or if you are permanently disabled or blind. 

If you’re permanently disabled, you’ll most likely receive a short two-page Disability Update Report (also called a short form) when your case is under review by the SSA. The Disability Update Report is only six questions long and will likely take from one to three months for the agency to process. Sometimes, the SSA will flag your Disability Update Report for one reason or another and you’ll then be subject to the full Continuing Disability Report Review. Occasionally processing a short form disability review can take additional time (up to six months).

If your condition is expected to improve, you may receive the lengthier 10-page Continuing Disability Review Report without having received the short form first. While the Disability Update Report is based solely on your answers to the questions, the CDR includes a full medical review. For this reason, it may take six months or more for the SSA to process your disability review.

How Do I Fill Out Social Security Disability Review Forms?

If you receive a notice from the SSA about needing to complete a disability update report or a continuing disability review report, there’s no need to panic. Receiving one of these notices does not mean that Social Security is thinking about terminating your benefits—almost everyone who receives disability benefits will eventually need to complete either the short or long form.

However, you may find it helpful to consult with a Social Security disability attorney before submitting your disability review or update report to ensure that you’ve filled out everything correctly (and that your claim doesn’t get stuck in processing).

How to Fill Out the Social Security Disability Short Form

If you receive a piece of mail from the SSA requesting that you complete a Disability Report Update (Form SSA-455), you have several options for how you can fill out the form and submit it to the SSA for review. 

Completing the Disability Update Report Online

Back in November 2020, the SSA introduced a newer and more convenient way to complete the Disability Update Report online. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need if you want to complete the short form on the internet:

  • A computer with internet access (the online form works best with Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome browsers)
  • A valid email address (Don’t have one? Sign up for a free email account here.)
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your current address and phone number
  • The letter you received requesting that you complete Form SSA-445

The questionnaire asks for information about your work status, whether you’ve attended school or work training programs, if your doctor has made recommendations about your ability to work, a rating of your overall health, whether or not you’ve had doctor’s appointments or been prescribed medication, and if you’ve been hospitalized or had surgery within a certain time frame.


All the questions on the online disability report form can be answered with a simple yes, no, or other pre-filled bubble option. If you choose, you can add additional remarks or attachments to your online form, but they are not always necessary. 

With just a few clicks, you can finish the online form in minutes. Keep in mind that you must digitally sign the form by either typing your name or drawing your signature in the box provided. You will also need to be able to access your email to confirm the signature before the form is sent to the SSA.

Completing the Disability Update Report By Mail

If you do not have access to a computer or would simply prefer to send your completed disability update report by mail, you can fill out the scannable paper copy of the form sent to you with the notice from the SSA. 

Be sure to fill out the form clearly and carefully, since the form is scanned by a computer. If the computer is unable to read your responses (or if one of your answers is flagged), an SSA representative will need to process it, which will take longer. Send your completed disability update report to the following address within 30 days of receiving it:

Social Security Administration
P.O. Box 4550
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18767-4550

Need a replacement form? Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (for the hearing impaired). 

How to Fill Out the Disability Review Long Form

As of January 2021, there is no way to complete the CDR form online—you must fill out the paper copy sent to you by the SSA and mail it back to the address provided in your notice or drop it off at your local SSA office. You can print a copy of the CDR long form here.

Unlike the Disability Update Report, the Continuing Disability Review is a full medical review of your condition. As such, filling out the long form will take more time and require more in-depth answers to questions about your health, medical treatment, and any full- or part-time employment you’ve engaged in. 

As noted above, the Continuing Disability Review is a much longer form and also requires accompanying medical documentation to prove that your condition or disability has not improved to the degree that you are no longer eligible to receive SSDI benefits. 

While the agency will request your records for you, you can send them copies of existing medical records from the past 12 months if you already have them. You also have the option of including a brief letter from your doctor describing any changes in your condition or symptom severity. If you need help, a friend, family member, SSA representative, or your Social Security disability lawyer can assist you with filling out the CDR.

Can I Appeal a Discontinuation of Benefits After a CDR?

disability review

If your benefits are terminated following your submission of your Continuing Disability Review, you can appeal the decision

In order to continue receiving disability benefits during the appeal period, you’ll need to first send the SSA a Benefit Continuation form within 10 days of receiving the denial. Then, you must submit a Request for Reconsideration within 60 days of receiving your denial. 

As with the initial disability application process, there can be many stages in the CDR appeals process. For prompt, compassionate, and experienced legal assistance concerning a disability review or appeal, be sure to contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling 602-952-3200. We’re available 24/7 to set up your free consultation and case review. 

Have more questions? Agents are standing by via LiveChat to help. You can also request your free case review online by filling out this simple form.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
FAQ About Disability Benefits and Unemployment

FAQ About Disability Benefits and Unemployment

When it comes to disability benefits and unemployment, these two kinds of payments may seem inherently at odds with each other. After all, to qualify for disability payments, you must have a demonstrated condition that prevents you from working. At the same time, in order to obtain unemployment, you must generally meet the condition of being actively engaged in seeking full-time work.

disability benefits and unemployment

In many situations, you won’t be able to qualify for both disability payments and unemployment benefits at the same time. But there are specific circumstances under which beneficiaries may be entitled to both—and that can mean the difference between staying afloat or continuing to struggle in these tough economic times. Read on to find out if you may be eligible for one or both of these forms of aid with the help of a Social Security disability lawyer.

Does Disability Pay the Same as Unemployment?    

In short, no. The amount of disability benefits or unemployment an individual receives is based on too many factors, including the state you live in, your age, work history, etc. It’s important to note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment benefits have been extended and supplemented by the federal government via temporary programs including Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).   

How Much Does Unemployment Pay?

Most states offer about 26 weeks’ worth of unemployment benefits, but how your benefits are calculated varies. In Massachusetts, for example, unemployment benefits are 1/2 of your average weekly earnings. Your weekly unemployment benefits could range from a minimum of $98 to a maximum of $1,234.

In other states, however, unemployment is not so generous. In Mississippi, recipients will get between just $30 and $235 per week, or 1/26 of their earnings in the highest quarter of your base period (the first four of the last five calendar quarters prior to your claim). In most states, the range is somewhere between $300 to $500 per week. To really get an idea of how much you could get on unemployment (and in conjunction with the recent extension of federal pandemic unemployment assistance), you’ll need to contact your local unemployment office.

How Much Does Disability Pay?

In order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, you’ll have to meet two major requirements. Firstly, you must have a qualifying medical condition which prevents you from working. Secondly, you must have earned enough work credits. (If you are disabled but do not have enough work credits, you may still qualify for financial assistance through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.)

SSDI benefits are dependent upon your lifetime average earnings (a portion of which you paid into Social Security). As such, having access to your full work history becomes extremely important when estimating what your benefit amount could be. 

Going into 2021, the average disabled worker will receive $1,277 per month in disability benefits. The maximum monthly payment a disabled worker can receive in 2021 is $3,011. In other words, disability benefits provide steady (although not exorbitant) income for workers who are truly disabled and who are unlikely to be able to return to work. 

Learn more about how Social Security disability benefit amounts are calculated.

Can I Get Unemployment While I’m Waiting For Disability?

Trying to make ends meet when you’re disabled can be very difficult. And because qualifying for benefits can sometimes take months or even years, many people are concerned about how they’ll continue to pay their bills while waiting for a decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

Unfortunately, the SSA does not automatically provide applicants any intermediary financial aid while waiting for disability. Exceptions to this rule include serious conditions that qualify for compassionate allowance or expedited reinstatement for those who have lost their benefits but qualified in the past.

disability benefits and unemployment

If you lost your job because of your disability—that is, you missed too many shifts because of doctor’s appointments or could no longer perform the job’s essential duties—you could potentially qualify for unemployment benefits. That being said, collecting unemployment may be a bad look for your disability claim. 

Unemployment benefits are designed for temporarily laid-off workers who are both ready and willing to work. Disability benefits are for permanently disabled workers who are unable to work or engage in any kind of Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). As of 2021, SGA refers to monthly income in excess of $1,310 for non-blind disabled individuals. 

Should you bring your claim to a disability hearing in the future, an administrative law judge could doubt the legitimacy of your inability to work based on the fact that you collected unemployment. Bottom line: it is highly recommended to consult with an experienced attorney before applying for disability benefits and unemployment.

SSDI applicants who need interim financial assistance may find it helpful to reach out to their state’s Department of Social Services. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), and your local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) may be able to help.

Can I Collect Disability Benefits and Unemployment At the Same Time?

Although disability benefits and unemployment payments don’t mix much of the time, there are some circumstances in which an individual receiving disability benefits could also be entitled to unemployment. If you are working part-time on disability (while earning less than current SGA thresholds) and you are laid off from your job, you may be able to collect both your SSDI benefits and unemployment at the same time. 

The same may be true if you are in a trial work period as a part of the SSA’s Ticket to Work Program and are laid off. Keep in mind, however, that requirements and restrictions on how much you can receive from your state’s unemployment office in addition to disability payments may vary considerably depending on where you live and work. In states such as Wisconsin and North Carolina, SSDI recipients are regularly disqualified from receiving regular unemployment insurance. Luckily, lawmakers changed course when it came to allowing SSDI beneficiaries to apply for PUA. 

Who Can Help Me With Disability Benefits and Unemployment?

If you still have questions about disability benefits and unemployment, the best course of action is to talk to a qualified professional. Many state agencies have been overwhelmed by inquiries and applications during the coronavirus pandemic. For knowledgeable and personalized assistance, contact a Social Security disability attorney at Social Security Disability Advocates USA.

Our law firm offers free, no obligation consultations for those who need help applying for benefits or appealing a decision. Call us today at 602-952-3200, connect with one of our LiveChat agents, or simply fill out this form to request your free case review.

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.
How to Check Your Social Security Disability Claim Status

How to Check Your Social Security Disability Claim Status

The Social Security disability application process can seem to go on forever when you’re awaiting a decision. In addition, trying to track down your Social Security disability claim status can be downright confusing if you don’t know where to look. Find out how to check on an SSDI claim application status at every step of the process with this guide from Social Security Disability Advocates USA. 

Checking Your Application Status After Applying for SSDI

Social Security disability claim status

If this is your first time applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you may be wondering how long it will take the Social Security Administration (SSA) to receive, process, and make a decision on your application. 

According to the SSA, it can take from 30 days to 90 days to come to a decision on an initial application. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not uncommon for this process to take as long as six months. This can happen if your case needs additional verification, has errors, or if there’s a large backlog of applications when you apply.  Note: if your condition is severe enough, you may qualify for compassionate allowance, which will expedite this process.

When you first submit your SSDI application either online, by phone, or in person, the application will be forwarded to Disability Determination Services (DDS), which are federally-funded, state-run agencies. DDS will assign a claims examiner to your case. Following the receipt of your application, you or your attorney will receive a phone call and additional paperwork to complete. This will let you know that the process is moving forward.

When to Start Checking Your SSDI Application Status

It’s good practice to begin periodically checking on the status of your disability claim approximately a month after submitting it. Doing so will make sure you know as soon as possible if the approval process has stalled for any reason, like needing additional medical documentation of your condition. The sooner you address potential issues, the more quickly and efficiently your application will be processed. There are multiple ways to check your SSDI application status, whether you’re computer savvy or not.

Check the Status of Your SSDI Claim Online

check status of ssdi claim online

The fastest and easiest way to check your Social Security disability claim status is to log in to your my Social Security account. Even if you didn’t complete the application process online, you can still create a my Social Security account after the fact in order to view the current status of your claim. 

To create an account, you’ll need to provide a valid email address, your Social Security number, and a U.S. mailing address. You must also be at least 18 years old.  Here is the step-by-step process to accessing your claim status using your my Social Security account.

  1. After you log in, navigate to the My Home page. 
  2. Scroll down to the section called Your Benefit Applications.
  3. Select View More under the heading called More Info.
  4. You’ll be able to see the status of your application under the Current Status section.

Your my Social Security account will show pertinent information about your case, including your re-entry number (if you started an application online but have not yet finished it), the date the SSA received your application or subsequent appeals, scheduled hearing dates and times, the name and location of the field office processing your application or appeal, and whether or not a decision has been made in your case.

Call Your Local SSA Field Office

Although the COVID-19 pandemic prompted many SSA office closures, you may still be able to reach a representative from your local field office by phone. If you know the name of the disability examiner assigned to your case, you may also be able to contact them directly.

Call the Social Security Administration For Status Updates

If you are unable to check your disability claim status online or by contacting your local field office, you can contact the SSA directly by phone. Hint: to avoid longer wait times, try the automated telephone services first.

  • Automated Telephone Service:1-800-772-1213
    Call this toll-free number to find out your disability claim status 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Social Security Representative: 1-800-772-1213*
    Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time.
  • TTY for the Deaf or Hard of Hearing: 1-800-325-0778
    Representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time.
  • For Those Living Outside the U.S.: 410-965-0160
    English-speaking representatives are available between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Eastern time.

*You must go through the automated telephone service before speaking to a live agent. To speak to a Social Security representative, say “disability” when the operator asks why you are calling. When the operator asks what information you are looking for about disability, say “Something else” to be rerouted to a live agent.

Still need help? The SSA provides special assistance and notifications for those who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. They also provide free interpreter services. Click here for details.

Talk To Your Social Security Disability Lawyer

If you are working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney, you can expect to be kept in the loop by your legal counsel, who will be paying close attention to any and all developments in your disability claim. If you’re not sure whether or not you need a lawyer, you can arrange a legal consultation regarding your case at no cost by choosing one of the options below.

Checking Your Claim Status After Requesting a Reconsideration

how to check on ssdi application status

More often than not, first time SSDI applicants are denied for a myriad of reasons. If this happens to you, don’t give up. You’ll have 60 days following the receipt of your denial letter to file a request for reconsideration. Again, this can be a lengthy process, one which you’ll want to check in on regularly.

 To check the status of your disability claim after requesting a reconsideration, talk to your lawyer, call your local SSA field office, or contact your new DDS claims examiner. You can also check your claim status by logging into your my Social Security account online.

Checking Your Disability Appeal Status After Requesting a Hearing

If your claim is denied after requesting a reconsideration, you can then appeal an SSA decision. Once you’ve requested a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ), you’ll wait to receive a notice of the date, time, and place of your disability hearing

You’ll be notified of this appeal information in writing via U.S. mail, but you can also access this information online by logging in to your my Social Security account. If you have additional questions, you can contact the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Utilize the contact information sent directly to you in your hearing notice.

Checking Your Disability Claim Status After Requesting an Appeals Council Review

how to check disability appeal status

If an administrative law judge denies your claim, you can still request an Appeals Council Review. At this point, it is strongly recommended to retain the services of a Social Security disability lawyer for the best case results. Your legal counsel will keep you up to date on the status of your claim if you get to this point in the appeals process. 

Still, you can be proactive and verify that the Appeals Council has received your request for review by calling the SSA Claimant and Public Assistance Branch at 703-605-8000 or toll-free at 1-877-670-2722.

Checking Your Case Status After Filing a Federal Court Appeal

If all else fails, you can file a civil lawsuit against the Social Security Administration. For this last step of the appeals process, your attorney or legal team will be with you every step of the way to keep you informed about the status of your case.

How Working With An Attorney Can Help Your Case

Whether you’re applying for disability for the first time or appealing a denial, a trained Social Security disability lawyer can not only help you qualify for benefits, but also ensure that you receive the maximum disability benefits amounts based on your eligibility.

To find out more, contact Social Security Disability Advocates USA by calling 602-952-3200. Representatives are standing by 24/7 via LiveChat to answer any questions you may have. You can also request you free, no obligation consultation right now by completing this convenient form

This is attorney advertising. SSDA, LLC is a group of attorneys that pursues claims for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of its clients against the Social Security Administration. SSDA, LLC is in no way a part of the Social Security Administration. Further, the information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a representative-client relationship.