Delayed Social Security Disability Benefits

When It Takes Too Long for Benefits to Be Paid

If several months after you have been awarded Social Security disability benefits, the benefits still have not been paid to you, there are three ways to approach the problem:

  1. Contact a congressional office. Because Social Security benefit issues come up so often, each Representative and Senator has a staff member who specializes in dealing with the Social Security Administration. A congressional inquiry is often an effective way to speed up payment.
  2. Either you or your attorney can discuss your case with a supervisor at your local Social Security office. The supervisor may contact the payment center to arrange for prompt payment.
  3. Either you or your attorney can send a fax to the payment center. If your case is being paid by the Office of Central Operations (OCO) in Baltimore, fax a letter directly to one of the processing units, which are called modules or “mods.” Modules are assigned according to your Social Security number.

The Social Security Administration recommends that you or your attorney send a fax inquiring about your case if you have not received a Notice of Award within 45 days of the date of the favorable decision on your disability hearing. If there is no response, 45 days after the first fax, send a second fax to the same fax number addressed to the attention of the module manager. Be sure to enclose a copy of the first fax. If there is still no response 45 days after the second fax, send a third fax to the same number addressed to the attention of the Division Program Manager. Enclose copies of earlier faxes. If there is still no response, 45 days later send a fax to the Center for Program Support at 410-966-0715 enclosing copies of all previous correspondence.

If you are under age 55 and your disability case went to federal court, payment will probably be handled at OCO in Baltimore by the Special Appeals and Examining Section (SAES), not one of the regular mods. The SAES telephone number is 410-966-8411, fax 410-966-1998.

If you reside in a foreign country, payment may be handled by the Office of International Operations, which is sometimes referred to as PC 8. The fax number is 410-965-8020.

If you cannot figure out who to contact, try telephoning the Social Security Administration’s Office of Public Inquiries, 410-965-7700.

If your benefits are to be paid by one of the regional payment centers, it usually works best to fax a letter to the payment center. Faxing works better than mailing letters.

If you are receiving disabled adult child’s benefits, payment will be handled by OCO in Baltimoreif your wage earner parent is receiving disability benefits and is under age 55. If your disabled wage earner parent is over age 55 or is retired or deceased, payment is handled by a regional payment center. However, if you are also receiving benefits on your own account, jurisdiction for the entire case may remain with OCO in Baltimore.

Widow(er)’s benefits are paid from regional payment centers. When a widow(er) who is under age 55 is also entitled to benefits on his or her own account, jurisdiction can be split between OCO and one of the regional payment centers. The widow(er) may get a monthly check issued from each location. In these dual entitlement cases, you need to use your deceased spouse’s Social Security number to inquire about your widow(er)’s benefits and your own Social Security Number to inquire about payment based on your own earnings record.

SSI payments are processed by the local Social Security field office. If there is a problem with payment, try to contact the SSI claims representative who is handling the case. If that doesn’t work, contact a supervisor at the field office or the field office manager. If the manager cannot solve the problem, the Social Security Administration recommends that you contact the executive officer in the Social Security Administration regional office.