Social Security Says, “A Medical Decision Has Been Made”. What Does this Mean?

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“A Medical Decision Has Been Made”

Has the Social Security website been sending you cryptic love notes? Wondering what in the world they are talking about? Below you will find an explanation for:

  • Benefit Application Under Review
  • Appeal Under Review

What They Say

For new applications: “Benefit Application Under Review: A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your benefit application. A Social Security Representative may contact you or your appointed representative directly if we need any additional documents or information.”

For hearings: “Appeal Under Review: A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision. A Social Security Representative may contact you or your appointed representative directly if we need any additional documents or information.”

What They Mean

“We have made a decision. We have decided whether or not we consider you disabled. We are not going to tell you the decision yet. We are sending your file to your local Social Security office. Then your decision will show up on the website or in a letter. Sometimes the website comes first, sometimes the letter comes first.”

Update! 

Something has been wrong with the Social Security website recently. Some people have been getting this message when a decision has not really been made. Stay tuned!

If you get this decision and then call Social Security and discover a medical decision has not really been made, here’s a few great things you can do to greatly improve your chances before that decision does get made:

💮 Improve Your New Application
💮 Improve Your Reconsideration
💮 Improve Your Hearing Appeal


What Happens Next 

If the decision is an approval look here: Everything No One Ever Tells You About Living on Social Security Disability

If the decision is an approval, and you are applying for SSI, they will soon contact you for a financial interview, look here: How to Handle an SSI Interview (PERC)

If the decision is a denial, for an initial application, look here: How to Request Reconsideration

If the decision is a denial, for a reconsideration, look here: How to Request a Hearing Appeal

If the decision is a denial, for a hearing appeal, look here: Options Beyond Hearings 

Everything that has happened so far and everything that happens next: Complete Social Security Timeline


But Wait! There’s More!

A few other things that can happen:

Quality Review

Before they tell you the decision, they may send your file to an office called quality review where they will double check our decision. Most of the time, nothing happens at quality review. However, if quality review disagrees with the decision, there is a small chance they may send it back for more consideration.

Not all applications go to quality review, if yours does, you will see a message that says: “Your benefit application is currently under review for processing accuracy. Once the review is complete, we will continue processing your appeal. Once the review is complete, we will continue processing your benefit application.”

Your appeal is currently under review for processing accuracy. Once the review is complete, we will continue processing your appeal.

Medical Approvals

If you get a message that you were approved medically but they need to do a non-medical review. This is good news. It means you were approved. The non-medical is just an SSI financial review.

Decision Writers

For hearings, there is one extra step. After the judge, makes a decision, the judge will send the decision to some people called decision writers. The decision writers will write a long letter explaining the judge’s decision. Then they will send it back to the judge to sign.


Improving Your Chances

More things to know and do while applying for Social Security:

Collect and Read Your Medical Records

🌺 It can be extremely helpful to know what your records say. (Hint: Do not read visit summaries or online records. These are not your full records.)

Check Your Social Security File

🌺 Lost or missing records are unfortunately a common reason for denials. (Hint: For initial applications, your lawyer does not have electronic access to your file. The only way to find out for sure is to talk directly to the person handling your case at Social Security. For appeals, your lawyer can access your file and give you a copy).

Make Your Life a Little Easier

🌺 Tips for financial survival and a (slightly) easier life while you are applying.

Troubleshoot

🌺 Click here if you run into a problem with your application

Learn the Difference Between SSI and SSDI

🌺 This may make your life less confusing.

Check Your Date Last Insured (SSDI Only)

🌺 If you are applying for SSDI, you may wish to check your Date Last Insured. If it is coming up soon, you want to do everything possible to get the best medical evidence you can before that day arrives.

Make Plans for Your Student Loans

🌺 If you have federal student loans, you have some options. Look into this now, so you don’t have to worry about your backpay being garnished.

Tricky Questions

🌺 Questions that may come up at the doctor’s office while you are waiting.

Speed Up the Process

🌺 Ways to get a faster decision or faster first check.


Thanks for Reading

🌸 Art on this page by Robin Mead and Elizabeth D’Angelo.

🌸 To get daily updates on helpful disability services, and low income programs, follow us on Facebook: The Sleepy Girl Guide.

🌸 Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. Please share this page with others by pressing one of these magic little buttons:

53 thoughts on “Social Security Says, “A Medical Decision Has Been Made”. What Does this Mean?”

  1. I saw on the Social Security web page that a decision. When I applied, they showed
    Social Security (Disability) Initial 11/11/2019 Decision made View Decision
    SSI (Disability) Initial 11/12/2019 Decision made View Decision
    When I view the decision for the SSI (Disability) it says denied, and when I review the decision for Social Security (Disability) It just says A Decision Has Been Made On Your Benefit Application
    Your claim for Disability benefits has been processed. A notice has been sent to you with a detailed explanation of the decision. Should I take it that both have been denied?

    Like

  2. Applied for widow/disability benefits SSDI 6 months ago-over 100pages of medical for stenosis, carpal tunnel & ptsd- followed my file from local to dds to local – now it is in psc jamaica NY- according to them it is the payment center for me (based on deceased souse soc & birthdate) still waiting on a letter – area supervisor says to call back next week and says Im approved-I will believe it when I see it – is the online update? is the covid 19 going to back everything up? anybody in the same show I am 55 yrs old soon to be 56 so Im told it will be easier to get approved on the first go round- lawyer wouldnt take my case unless i got denied – waiting waiting

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  3. My social security account did say pending now it says processing , also it says disability QUALITY review how long does that takes . Is this a sign of approval

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  4. Hi there. I had my court hearing in October, soon thereafter the generic message populated about a decision being made as such posted in your article. Into 3rd month of waiting on this decision, SSA website added I’m scheduled to return to court in 2020. What does this mean? why? is this an error? I have yet to receive a decision from the original message posted in October. Very confusing. Has anyone else received mixed messages?

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    1. I’m not sure what happened. If you are working with a lawyer, it would be good to contact them. If not, I would call ssa and also the judge’s office to see if the judge has scheduled a second hearing… that does happen sometimes.

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  5. Hello sleepygirl, I filed for ssdi a year ago this month and I am 100% permant and total from the VA and i do have expited claim and been denied twice and filed for a hearing in March and then in May I got an update stating that appeal under review a medical descision has bben made I havent really heard much from them so I called and they said I have a hearing date in about 2 months. I am just confused on the wording and the timing as I see most of the time people get this message after a hearing. Not sure if it is a mistake on the ssa website or if i got an otr. thank you.

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    1. I’m not sure what happened. There have been some mistakes on the SSA website. If a decision was actually made in May, you should have gotten a letter or another update by now?

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      1. Hi sleepygirl. Have you found anything else out about mistakes on the SSA website regarding posting the message “a medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision”? I got this message 2 months ago. I am at the hearing stage. Then about 2 weeks ago, they gave me a hearing date so it is very confusing. My lawyer doesn’t know anything. No one seems to know anything.

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        1. Hello i went to court may of 2018 and i was waiting for a decision and they gave me another court date do you know why the would do that and also on the website it says we made a medical decision were waiting to process your decision but i go back to court jan 27 i dont understand

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          1. That message has been appearing as a mistake for many people.

            I don’t know the reason you are having a second hearing, but it does happen sometimes if the judge has more questions. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer might be able to give you more info on your case.

            I hope it goes great for you.

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  6. I had a disability hearing on September 30 2019. Now it says a medical decision has been made. Btw I started my process June of 2017. Any helpful experience at this level would be great. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi sleepy girl,

    in March 2019 I received paperwork from Social Security informing me that I would be under full medical review, I haven’t done a full medical review since, I initially filed a claim with Social Security 14 years ago.

    I mailed all of the paperwork back at the Social Security on March 18th.

    My question to you is, how long does an average decision take for a full medical review?

    ( when, I initially filed a claim with Social Security, it was a late 2005, I was approved in early 2006, so from the time, I filed a claim from the time, I was approved, it was five months. I’m hoping this decision doesn’t take 5 months.)

    Thank you for your time in advance.

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    1. I’m sorry for the delayed response. I hope it has gone well for you and that you have heard something back by now. I don’t know the typical review is these days.

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        1. I don’t know how long the process is these days, they’ve recently started a lot more reviews so they may have a backlog.

          You can certainly call Social Security and check that they received your papers.

          You can also get in touch with your disability examiner to see if there is any more doctor’s records or info you can help them get.

          Hope it goes great for you. https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/how-to-stay-in-touch-with-your-disability-examiner/

          Like

      1. Hi I applied for SSDI and SSI four months ago. I received a phone call from social security stating that I did not need to see their dr because they had enough medical information from my own dr. She said I didnt need to turn in another single document. I asked her if I was approved and she declined to tell me. I created an online account and recently checked it. It said basically my application was being reviewed for accuracy. I called the SSA and was told that they have to “dot their I’s and cross their T’s to make sure I was getting a correct benefit amount. I asked again if I was approved and she said, “I didn’t say that.”

        Has this happened to anyone else?

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        1. Benefit Application Under Review

          A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your benefit application. A Social Security Representative may contact you directly if we need any additional documents are needed.
          It means approval.

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            1. What if you get the message that a medical decision has been made and you just filed your second appeal for a hearing and you have not had the hearing. If the medical decision has been made does that mean your approved?

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              1. It could mean an On the Record approval…. but if you just filed the appeal, it might be more likely to be a mistake. Some people have been getting error messages lately.

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                1. It did update first to say it had been sent to the ALJ to be reviewed. I’m just praying it means approval for the person I’m helping. The medical doctor they sent him to said he couldn’t even do a set down job and the psychologist said he should be walking with a cane.

                  Like

        2. I have the same message on my online account. I’ve read different answers from different lawyers, some saying it’s usually the cases that got approved going for a “confirmation”; the others say it’s completely random and doesn’t indicate an approval or denial. I hope to speak with my lawyer tomorrow and get some more information. Good luck!

          Like

  8. My wife has lupus, fibromyalgia and RA with 7 years worth of specialist medical records to back up her diagnoses. She finally lost the reasonable ability to work at the beginning of this year. She applied on 1/18 and a medical decision was made 4/17/18, we just don’t know what that decision is.

    Like

  9. Under SSI i have been denied, but under SSD the message says ” A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your benefit application. A Social Security Representative may contact you directly if we need any additional documents or information.

    What exactly does this mean? Do you think it is a good or bad sign?

    Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hi Kim,

      I just reread the message. The SSI denial could be a medical denial or a financial one. If it is a financial denial, that would have no impact on your SSDI case. If it’s a medical denial, then both would be denied. If it doesn’t give you more information, you may be able to call them and see if they can tell you what kind of denial it was.

      Like

  10. Hello Sleepy girl, I am waiting on the decision after a hearing with an alj. I was wondering when I shhould apply for ssi. After I find out if I got ssdi? Also, when should I get an acct at social security to check on my status? Can I do that now even though I don’t know if I am approved? Sorry for all the questions

    Like

    1. Hi April,

      You can create an online account any time. Yes, you can do that now.

      For SSI, you may have already applied without realizing it. You can check with your lawyer or call SSA or check your account online to see if you have an SSI application also pending.

      Like

  11. Hello Sleepygirl. I initially applied for ssi by myself in October of 2016. I got denied both times after seeking an attorney for my reconsideration. I had my first court date in October of 2017. I checked myssa.gov online account and saw that under SSDI its says Appeal Under Review

    A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision. A Social Security Representative may contact you or your appointed representative directly if we need any additional documents or information.

    And so SSI is states that: A Request for your Appeal for a hearing:
    SSI (disability) has been denied.

    It does not say for medical reasons at all on my SSI decision. I haven’t got my SSDI decision updated yet on the site. I’ve been told if I am denied for ssi then I will be denied for ssdi. But could it be that my SSDI would be more. I was still receiving wages for two months after leaving my job, for September and October of 2016. Not to mention I did taxes for 2016 taxes and received a large amount in my refund. Could these factors hinder my decision for SSI because I am what you call poor.n Or does this sound like my ssdi will be denied too? I had an attorney at my hearing and she said it sounds promising.

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    1. I’m sorry I don’t know the answer to this. You might be able to find out more by calling. It will probably update more within the next few days.

      If they did a financial interview when you first applied, it is possible that you had too much wages at that time, and that is why it says denied.

      If they never asked you financial questions, then it is more likely to be a medical denial.

      I am keeping my fingers crossed and hope it is a good outcome for you.

      Like

      1. Hey I got the message my application was pulled for quality process or something what’s does that mean an am I approved? Do u see cases like this get approved

        Like

  12. This is what my online ssa says

    Dec 22

    Appeal Under Review

    A medical decision has been made and we are working to process your decision. A Social Security Representative may contact you directly if we need any additional documents or information.

    I’m at the reconsideration stage Ssdi only

    I called the 800 number on Jan 2 waited on hold for an hour then spoke to a nice man who asked me my social address mother’s maden name then he typed for a while then he told me I am in fact approved.. I said approved and he said yes fully approved and I should be getting a letter so I got off the phone with him and waited no letter yet…then on Jan 23rd I called again waited on hold for an hour and spoke to another nice guy and he asked the same questions then said I was approved on dec 22 and he was going to send a message to my local social security office to send out a letter immediately I asked him is anything wrong and he said no that it just takes time some times I have terrible ocd and depression I anxiously wait
    Any insight?

    Like

    1. Usually if they tell you approved you are.

      Sometimes things get sent to quality review, but it usually just slows things down without changing anything.

      You could try contacting your local office and asking to speak to a supervisor about the delay. Or contacting your congressperson’s office and asking them to inquire for you. I hope it goes well.

      Like

  13. Am I reading above correct if you receive a message medical decision has been made usually favorable.
    I took a fce about 2 weeks ago and right after fce the message appeared
    My fce showed less than sedentary work.

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  14. Hello, I have been in the SSDI process since April of 2014 after breaking my back at work. I had my ALJ hearing on August 29th 2017 and have been anxiously awaiting a decision since then. I just checked online, and it says “status: processing”. Does this mean anything (at writers, they are computing benefits, etc) or is it just another way of saying pending? Thank you and happy holidays!

    Like

  15. Hey Sleepygirl ! I had surgery 10 years ago Complete Torn ACL repair now 10 years later I’m unable to work because of my Osteoarthritis and “hip drop”. I was eligible for disability under Title II act. Do you think I’m medically eligible, I have good hopes..

    Like

  16. Hi I am at the reconsideration stage. SSDI got the request for that on June 12. Since, I messaged you last, I had Allsup send me the ADL questionnaire that I completed by them on phone on 6/22. There are a few major mistakes on it about chores that I do around the house.

    I have had some major medical updates that I sent to ALLSUP. I am praying they are sending them directly to the DDS. I had X-rays and an MRI done of my neck and got the results from my new orthopedist on 7/18. I have moderate to severe osteoarthritis on both sides, two herniated discs, pinched nerves, degenerative discs and some stenosis. This explains my pain and why it is so difficult for me to do thins with my arms. I have problems with my lower back too, but when I called the orthopedist group, I had to choose which doctor to see for one part of my body and I chose neck. Now, I’m thinking I should see someone for my whole spine. I have physical therapy on 7/24. Do you thing the PT report will be enough or should I get an MRI of my whole spine? Is this too much information for me to share on here?

    Like

    1. Thanks for the update Kimberly.

      That is smart of you to get a copy of your ADL report. I didn’t realize that Allsup filled that out for people. I’m curious how it worked – they interviewed you on the phone and then completed it for you?

      I can’t really know what is best for your doctor visits. Usually Social Security will give more weight to records from a doctor than a physical therapist. However, if you already have MRI report that shows a clear problem, you may not need another one.

      Here’s how you can check your social security file to see what records they do and don’t have. ❤

      https://howtogeton.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/how-to-find-out-whats-missing/

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I am so frustrated. Of course I was denied at my first go round. I am using ALLSUP, but they don’t seem to be working hard. They wait to hear from ddd’s, but never send them info. Allsup says SSDI will request info if they need it, but they don’t request functional or medical source statements from doctors, which I have gotten. Allsup says they don’t request medical records on my behalf unless I go to the hearing stage. Yet, rep from ALLSUP says I am not supposed to talk to SSDI people, only them. Should I be sending all paperwork to SSDI rep myself? Seems to me ALLSUP is trying to drag it out to get a bigger paayout. Am I wrong on this?

    Like

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      So sorry to hear you are dealing with this.

      It is great that you are on top of everything and getting statements from your docs.

      What stage are you at now? Are you waiting for a hearing? New application decision? Or a reconsideration decision?

      💙💚💛

      Like

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