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
What does a Social Security Disability Examiner do?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The answer to this question depends on what level of the social security appeal system your particular claim happens to be at. If you have filed a disability application, then the decision on your claim will be made, principally, by a disability examiner.
What is a disability examiner? A disability examiner is a specialist who works at a state agency whose function is to evaluate disablity claims (both social security disability and SSI disability) for the social security administration. These state agencies are disability determination services. Each state has at least one DDS and some have several (North Carolina, for example, has a centralized system that uses one DDS, while South Carolina has a decentralized system that uses multiple DDS facilities).
What happens at DDS and what does the disability examiner do? DDS is where claims go after they have been opened in local social security offices. There at DDS, cases are assigned to disability examiners who have caseloads of pending claims.
Disability examiners are responsible for requesting a claimant's medical records from all the various medical treatment sources listed on the claimant's disability application. Getting the records, of course, can take quite some time in many instances.
However, once the records are received, the disability examiner will be responsible for evaluating them. This usually entails reading them and taking notes to ascertain whether or not the claimant meets the necessary qualifications to satisfy a listing in the blue book (the social security disability list of impairments).
The claimant's remaining physical and mental capabilities (in light of their various physical and mental conditions) is known as their RFC, or residual functional capacity. Residual functional capacity is expressed in terms of a rating, either physical or mental.
continued on part two: How does Social Security Disability decide that you cannot work?
Return to: SSDRC, or the Social Security Disability Questions page