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SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Social Security doctors, part of a screwed up system?
In a recent post I defined just what a social security disability doctor is and pointed out the fact that the doctor who conducts independent consultative medical examinations for the social security administration is not the same doctor as the one who actually works in a case processing unit at DDS (disability determination services, where SSD and SSI disability claims get decided at the disability application and disability reconsideration appeal levels).
In this post, I'm going to describe some of the DDS/social security doctors I've worked with in the past. This is not to be mean, but I thought it would be helpful to those who are interested in how the disability system works to get an idea of what the doctors who help decide disability claims are like, at least in certain regards. Of course, I can't list real names or give out any identifying information. So I will refer to these doctors by alphabetical letter.
Doctor A - Considered by the entire agency to be an expert on visual impairment cases. Practically all examiners were referred by either their unit supervisors or by the doctors attached to their processing unit to this one doctor whenever the case involved an eye impairment (impaired visual acuity, reduced peripheral fields, macular degeneration, low vision, blindness, etc). This doctor, however, was not an opthalmologist and, in private practice, had never worked with eye conditions.
Doctor B - A fairly old doctor, liked by everyone. He was routinely visited by examiners from all over the agency. Was it because he possessed a certain expertise lacked by the others, and so was highly in demand? No. He simply had the reputation of signing anything that was put in front of him. Why would this matter (newspaper journalists who want to get a peek into how screwed up the social security disability and SSI disability system is should really read these next few lines)? Because when examiners were given RFC (residual functional capacity) assessments by their own unit doctors that either they or their supervisors did not like...they went "doctor shopping". And what better doctor to go to than one who never read any of the records but simply signed whatever you gave him so he could back to reading his newspaper.
Doctor C- Another doctor who was also visited by examiners from all over the agency. He also would sign nearly anything he was given and, like Doctor B, would not read the medical records attached to the claimant's files. How was he different from Doctor B? Instead of reading the newspaper all day, he slept in his office. I think he was in his late 80's. As an incidental detail, his eyesight was so bad that he routinely bashed his car into the sign marking his specific parking spot.
Doctor D - Considered the "heart expert" by much of the agency. He had never worked as a cardiologist.
Doctor E - A fairly young doctor (in his forties) who was once an orthopedic surgeon. Why would a young surgeon give up a promising and lucrative future to work at a state agency never treating anyone but simply reading medical records all day long? Good question. No one really knew the answer. All agreed, however, that they would never accept medical treatment from him.
Well, there it is. Just a brief snapshot of the doctors who work at DDS, the agency where decisions on disability claims are made.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
What medical conditions get you approved for disability?
Social Security Disability qualifications
Can you Get Disability if you can do Some Daily Activities?
Your age and if you will be approved for disability
Trying to get disability if you are a woman
How to claim disability benefits
How to file for disability in Colorado
How long do you have To Be Out Of Work Before You Get Social Security Disability (SSD)?
Can you apply for SSI for a learning disability?
How long for a disability judge to make a decision?
How to file for disability in South Dakota
Winning a Social Security Disability Appeal or SSI Appeal
Chronic pain and filing for disability
While you are in your disability interview
The SSD and SSI definition of disability
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits
Getting a disability approval
How to appeal disability denial
Disability hearing results
Helpful tips for going to social security disability hearing
SSDI hearing decision
Denied social security disability now what
Social security disability appeal status
Social security disability appeal attorney fees
I was denied social security disability for the 2nd time
What happens after a disability hearing has been held
How long does a Social Security Disability judge have to make a ruling?
The Social Security Disability Blue book
How to get an SSDI reconsideration approved?
Conditions that get approved for disability
Social security disability back pay status
Denied social security disability appeal
What to say at a disability hearing
Filing for disability with fibromyalgia
Tips for applying for disability