John Hogan’s Tips on How to Obtain Your Social Security Decision

Mar 11, 2008

Social Security Disability Attorney, John Hogan, has graciously provided a list of tips on How to Obtain Your Social Security Disability Decision. Thanks, John!



Former Players currently receiving Social Security disability and seeking to have their NFPLA disability claim reevaluated under the terms of the agreement announced February 29, will need to have access to their Social Security award information. The announcement from the NFLPA stated that there will only be a brief window of time to reapply: April 1 through July 31, 2008.


The announcement is otherwise rather short on specifics but it seems apparent that having the necessary Social Security information in hand will be very helpful.


The announcement does not indicate whether there will be any retroactivity to benefits awarded but it may be important for former players to have documentation of the date SSA found they were disabled. It is not known, but doubtful that the NFLPA will need to know the medical basis for the grant of benefits, as it appears that only “inactive” benefits might be granted under this agreement and it is not necessary to show that the disability is football-related as is required for the higher paying “football degenerative” benefits.


For former players receiving Social Security disability but who do not have a copy of their decision or award, here is the best way to obtain that information:


1) Important documents:

  • Decision from Administrative Law Judge, Appeals Council or U.S. District Court awarding disability. This decision will discuss all of the medical evidence in detail and explain why the person has been found disabled. It will also set forth the granted onset date of disability. If you can secure this, you shouldn’t need anything else.
  • Disability Determination and Transmittal – Social Security Form SSA-831. For claims granted at the initial application level or reconsideration, this document will set forth the granted onset date and a code of the basis for a finding of disability.
  • “Award Letter” is the document that SSA uses to set forth the date of entitlement to disability benefits and Medicare, as well as the amount of benefits. It does not indicate the medical basis for the finding of disability.


2) How to obtain these documents:

  • Write a certified letter, return receipt requested, to your local Social Security office. To find your local office, you can call 1-800-772-1213 or visit Social Security’s web-site: and look for “local office locator” where you put in your zip code.
  • The letter should include your name, address and social security number. Tell them you want to obtain a copy of your Social Security decision or Disability Determination and Transmittal AND a copy of your “Award Letter.”
  • You can request the information by phone: 1-800-772-1213 but this may take longer and there is no written proof of your request.
  • You can visit your local Social Security office in person, but if you do, make sure to take a comfortable chair, a lunch and a good book, as you may have to wait all day. (All Social Security offices are experiencing a terrible shortage of staff, and have a crushing case load.)


3) Follow-up:

  • If you have not obtained these documents within 30 days, you may  want to follow up with your Congressman or one of your state’s U.S. Senators. They all have staff people designated to be liaisons with Social Security. You may want to visit their local office in person, as there is a written authorization form you will need to sign for them to contact SSA on your behalf. Bring a copy of the letter you sent to SSA and a copy of the mail receipt for their files.


Best regards,
John Hogan

2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Kevin everett
    March 22nd, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    Can i receive social security when I am on nfl disability and retirement?

  2. John Hogan
    March 25th, 2014 at 8:34 am #

    ABSOLUTELY! I can’t believe someone from the Bills, the PA or the NFL hasn’t told you that.