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
Who will decide my Social Security disability claim ?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
If your social security disability or SSI case is at the initial claim level (which is the disability application) or the reconsideration appeal level, it will be decided by a disability examiner who works at a state claim-processing agency. This agency renders decisions on all types of disability claims for the social security administration, including SSI disability, Social Security Disability, and Medicaid for disabled adults. It is usually called DDS, or disability determination services, though in some states it goes by other names such as the Bureau of Disability Determination.
The job of the disability examiner is to gather your medical evidence and review it, looking for evidence of functional limitations that you might have, either mental or physical or both. In the case of adult claimants, the severity of these limitations will be compared to the types of work the person did in the past. In the case of child claimants, the severity of the limitations will be compared to the child's ability to engage in age-appropriate activities, which generally means the ability to perform at grade-level in school.
The examiner does not perform this task strictly on his own, however. The examiner is actually assigned to a case processing team. And this team includes a unit medical consultant, who is a medical doctor, and a pyschological consultant who is a Ph.D.-level psychologist. Both these individuals provide feedback for the disability examiner.
In some sense, these consultants do exactly what the disability examiner does since they read the available medical records in order to gain some idea of how the individual is physically or mentally limited, as well as how long these limitations may persist. Note: for social security disability and SSI purposes, a person's state of disability must be projected to last for at least 12 months, or have already lasted this long by the time the claim is decided, before ongoing disability benefits may be granted.
The medical consultant and the psychological consultant will review the claimant's medical records and will also review the disability examiner's assessment of the case. In some instances, they may offer insight to the examiner regarding the claimant's specific condition and how the severity of the condition may reduce the individual's ability to engage in normal daily activities.
However, it is the disability examiner who fundamentally makes the decision and who, in the end, will decide to approve or deny a disability case--assuming, of course, that the disability examiner's supervisor does not override his or her decision and also assuming that the quality control unit does not have an issue with the examiner's decision-making process.
Continued at: What tools are used by a Social Security Disability Examiner to Make a Claim Decision?
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Individual Questions and Answers
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