What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Can the Social Security Office give you Bad Advice on a Disability Claim?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Continued from: Social Security Disability Advice from the Wrong Sources
The answer to this question is, unfortunately, absolutely Yes. But, first, let's recap what was previously mentioned.
As mentioned on the page preceding this one, a person who was thinking about applying for disability was told by his psychiatrist that he was not disabled and that he should consider looking for a new type of employment.
This advice, of course, was entirely faulty. The majority of physicians and psychiatrists (conservatively speaking, 99.9999 percent) have no clue as to how disability cases are determined. More specifically, they are completely unaware of the fact that the decision on an SSD or SSI disability claim is not just a medical decision, but, rather a medical and vocational determination that weighs an individual's likelihood of being able to return to their past work. It also evaluates the likelihood of a person being able to do some type of other work.
The Social security administration oversees a disability claim system which accepts the supposition that it will be more difficult for some individuals to find some new type of employment. And this is a very reasonable position to take since some jobs that might utilize a person's inventory of work skills might not exist in their region (they may exist many states away, or may be in the process of becoming less available due to outsourcing abroad).
Additionally, for someone who is an older individual, there will always be the spectre of an employer preferring to hire a younger individual who can be paid less and who might be many years away from a higher frequency of filing health insurance claims.
In short, most doctors have no understanding of how the social security disability and SSI process works. And, therefore, they are completely unqualified when it comes to being able to discern whether or not a claimant qualifies for disability benefits.
Now, what happened when this same individual when he contacted the social security administration? He asked the social security employee whether or not he would qualify for disability. The employee asked him "Can you work?". He responded "I've been a computer programmer for most of my career, but I guess I could flip burgers". She responded "Then you're not disabled".
This was an inferior answer to the question for many reasons. However, let's start with the fact that the individuals who answer the phones within social security offices are not the people who determine eligibility on disability claims. That function is performed by disability examiners who work at a completely separate agency known as DDs, or disability determination services. The only individuals within a social security field office who "might" be qualified to even address the question "Will I qualify for disability?" are the claims representative who actually do the intake for both retirement and disability claims. However, even these individuals are not qualified to answer the question. Why? Because they do not work on disability claims either. They only take them...and then send them on to DDS where they can be assigned to a disability examiner who will obtain the necessary evidence and then consult with medical and psychological experts in order to arrive at a decision.
To the point, social security employees who work at social security offices are not qualified to answer such questions because this is not actually part of their job, despite the fact that social security offices are where disability applications get taken. If this particular social security employee had known anything about how disability cases are determined, she would have realized that being eligible for disability benefits involves a medical and vocational decision that involves assessing the following:
1. Whether or not a person's mental or physical condition is severe.
2. Whether or not the condition, or conditions, will last at least one full year.
3. Whether or not the condition will be severe enough, with regard to the limitations that it causes, to prevent a return to one's past work.
4. Whether or not the condition will be severe enough, with regard to the limitations that is causes, to prevent the individual from being being able to switch to some type of work, given consideration of the individual's age, education, and training.
5. Whether or not the individual, assuming they could work, would be able to work (given their limitations) at a level that would earn them a substantial and gainful wage.
The social security employee who responded with "Then you're not disabled" surely did not understand the various concepts that underlie the social security definition of disability. She did not know a claimant's residual functional capacity or RFC is rated, and what determines whether or not a person can be considered able to do some type of new work, based on ther age and other factors. She most likely also did not understand the concept of substantial gainful activity which allows a person to work and be considered disabled if they lack the ability to earn more than a certain minimum amout (which is entirely fair: if a person can only work and earn $300 per month, should they really be considered fully functional and able to support themselves?).
The social security employee was unaware of all these things. And for that reason she should never have responded to the question in that manner. A better, more helpful response would have been "If you feel you are disabled, a disability application can be taken in this office, but the decision will be made by a disability examiner at a state agency that will review your medical and work history information".
So...can you receive bad advice and information from the social security office? You certainly can.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
Social Security Disability Claim Denied and what to do about it
Filing Disability Appeals- Reminders About the SSD, SSI Appeal Process
Getting a Social Security Disability Determination After Seeing a Psychologist at a Mental Evaluation
How Can I Get Social Security Disability If I Have Not Worked For A Long Time?
Will a Social Security Judge give You an Immediate Decision at the Disability Hearing?
How Long Can You Receive Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)?
Applying for disability benefits in New York
How Long Will it Take To Get a Decision Letter from Social Security Disability?
What Happens When You File a Social Security Disability Application?
Why are Disability Cases Involving Children More Likely to be Denied?
After a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
Do you file for Social Security Disability or SSI?
If You Get Denied For Disability Should You appeal Or file A New Claim?
Submitting a Social Security Disability Appeal is usually Good Advice
What are the Application Requirements For SSI Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Can you get Social Security Disability or SSI for a Temporary Disability?
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
Does Social Security Disability prefer Current Medical Records for SSDI and SSI claims?
Will the the SSA Disability Examiner Call or Contact Me at some point?
Can you file an Internet Appeal for a Social Security Disability or SSI claim denial?
Applying for disability benefits in Wisconsin
If I Apply For Disability And Go Back To Work, Do I Need To Report This?
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Nevada
How Long Does It Take To Go Before A Judge For Disability Benefits?
Do You Get Cost Of Living Increases If You Receive Social Security Disability Or SSI?
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials