SSDI applicants in Illinois may be able to speed up the disability claims process through a congressional inquiry. The Social Security Administration has provided guidance to hearing officers and administrative law judges about how they should handle congressional inquiries in individual cases, and they are supposed to respond to them promptly. Applicants can request congressional inquiries about the statuses of their cases by contacting their local Congress member’s office. While requesting a congressional inquiry may not work, it can speed up the decision process and will not negatively impact the application.

What Is a Congressional Inquiry?

A congressional inquiry is something that applicants for SSDI or SSI can request from their local Congress member’s office. The congressional staff will then contact the SSA to check on the status of the case. In some cases, a congressional inquiry may make the process go faster. However, routine inquiries may simply be held in the applicant’s file. 

How to Request a Congressional Inquiry

People can request a congressional inquiry by contacting their local representative’s office. They should send the request for the representative to check the status of their case in writing. The request should provide details about the length of time that the people have been waiting, any financial or emotional hardships that the process has had, how long they have been waiting for their appeals hearings and the number of people that they have to support.

What Happens Next

If the representative agrees to make the inquiry, he or she will then contact the Social Security Administration to check on the status of the claim. The contact may be made by letter, phone, or email. The Social Security Administration has provided guidance to its staff, hearing officers, and administrative law judges on how they should handle each type of inquiry. Inquiries are supposed to be handled promptly, and the files of the applicants are supposed to be flagged so that people within the SSA know that an inquiry has been made. A congressional inquiry may or may not lead to a faster decision. There isn’t a guarantee that asking for and receiving a congressional inquiry will lead to a quick and favorable decision.

When Are Inquiries Made?

Typically, people ask for congressional inquiries while they are waiting for their SSDI appeals. Including as much detail as possible in the request might help people get congressional inquiries.