SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
Social Security Disability and SSI Questions and Answers
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?
More questions about SSD and SSI
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
How long does it take for an examiner to review a disability case?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
As a former disability examiner for the social security administration's DDS (disability determination services), I can accurately state that the actual review of a case does not take long at all. In fact, once the claimant's medical records and other evidence have been received, the case write-up can be completed within a handful of hours. Unfortunately, receiving just the medical records can often take weeks, and months is not unheard of.
It is for this reason that many claimants will benefit from gathering their own medical records from their various sources of medical treatment and then submitting these records at the time they file a claim for disability. Cases that arrive on a disability examiner's desk with the records already attached are usually looked at as an opportunity to get a case closed quickly, which can reflect positively on the examiner's processing statistics.
However, claimants who obtain their own records should make sure that they A) Get the records from ALL of their treatment sources and B) Get records from as far back as possible.
Getting the records from the earliest possible dates will help to prove that the claimant's state of disability exists as of the onset date alleged (AOD, or alleged onset date) on the disability application. And, of course, the earlier the onset date of the disability, the more in back pay benefits that the claimant may receive.
It should be noted, though, that medical records are not the only evidence that is gathered on a social security disability or SSI claim. Disability examiners will often be required to obtain all, or some, of the following evidence as well:
1. Additional information about the claimant's former job from a previous employer.
2. Current medical evidence in the form of a report of findings from a social security medical exam, otherwise known as a CE, or consultative examination (such an exam is typically ordered if the claimant has not received treatment for their condition in the last 90 days).
3. Information about the claimant's activities of daily living (ADLs) from either the claimant (obtained over the phone or on an ADL form), or obtained from someone the claimant has listed as a reliable third-party contact, a person who is often a friend, neighbor, or relative, but who is qualified to A) comment as to how the claimant spends their time and B) comment as to how well they are able to engage in normal daily activities.
When a disability examiner has all the information that they need to close a case, the decision can be reached in just a few hours. However, because of the time it takes to gather all the various pieces of evidence that is considered on a disability case, it can take, on average three to four months for a claimant to receive a decision on their claim.
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page