The Disability Application Process - The Five Stages

Find Out How You Can Check Your Disability Application Status

Every review stage of the Social Security Disability (SSD) application and appeals process has different guidelines for checking the status of a claim. Each step is governed by a different entity as well, which can make it difficult to know just what to do. The following steps help you understand the process and whom you should contact for updates.


Step One – Initial Application


What Is an On-the-record Decision and How Do I Request One?

An On-the-Record (OTR) decision is a favorable ruling that is made by an administrative law judge prior to an actual disability hearing.

The decision is made by the administrative law judge based only on the written medical information. Skipping the wait for an appeal hearing may speed up the process. You must, however, have substantial medical evidence proving the extent of your disability for this approach to be successful.

How do I submit new medical evidence if there is a change in my condition?

How do I submit new medical evidence if there is a change in my condition?

Any time there is a change in your medical condition—whether you have just submitted your Social Security disability application or have already been approved for benefits, you are required to keep the Social Security Administration (SSA) informed. You will need to submit any new medical records to the SSA.

How does a video disability hearing work?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has been one of the government agencies that have openly embraced technology. From online Social Security Disability applications to video disability hearings, the SSA has been successful in implementing a number of technology advances in order to streamline their processes. Many Social Security Disability applicants wonder exactly what happens at a disability hearing, and many more wonder what happens at a video disability hearing and how different a video disability hearing is from a traditional disability hearing.

How Does the SSA Determine If I Can Work?

When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits, there are a number of factors that the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes into consideration when determining whether or not you are capable of working. Some of these factors include your educational history, your prior work history and your age. If you want to understand how these factors affect the SSA’s decision when determining whether or not you are capable of any substantial gainful activity, the following information will offer some helpful insight.

Can I Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits Online?

While many of our government’s administrative agencies may seem stuck in the stone ages with long waiting lines and less-than-ideal service, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is one of the agencies that have joined us in the 21rst century with an array of online services. One of these services is online SSD applications. If you’ve been wondering whether or not you can apply for SSD online, the following FAQs will provide you with the information you’ve been looking for.

What Happens at a Federal Court Disability Review?

Nearly 60 to 70 percent of the disability claims that are received by the Social Security Administration (SSA) are denied each year, resulting in the need for a disability appeal. For most Social Security Disability applicants, only two stages of the appeal process are necessary, including a Request for Reconsideration and a disability hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). While nearly two-thirds of disability hearings are decided in the favor of the disability applicant, one-third of applicants are not awarded benefits as a result of this hearing.

What is an Appeals Council Review?

The Appeals Council is a branch of the Social Security Administration (SSA) headquartered in Virginia, whose sole purpose is to review Social Security decisions. If a Social Security disability applicant has their claim for benefits denied following their disability hearing (which is the second stage in the appeals process), the next step is to request that the Appeals Council review the judge’s decision.

What is the earliest age at which I can collect Social Security Disability Insurance?

Unfortunately, because of the vast influx of new applications and the economic uncertainty of Social Security, over 60% of disability applications are denied at the Initial Stage. Even if you suffer from a disabling condition that prevents you from working, you will most likely be denied disability benefits when you first apply. Further, 86% of those who appeal their denials and seek Reconsideration are again denied, while 37% of those who request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) are also denied.

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!