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Ask a question, get an answer

How do examiners make disability decisions in California?




 
This is a fairly simple question, but probably one that at least a few people are curious about. How does a disability examiner (examiners are the individuals who render decisions on SSI and social security disability claims) evaluate a claim and determine the decision that is to be made on a case?

Well, first of all, the examiner orders what is known as MER. This is simply a fancy way to say "your records" (MER - medical evidence of record). Typically, a disability examiner will do this as soon as they are assigned a disability case. At the DDS I was at, cases were assigned each morning and the first thing I always did was get the medical evidence ordered.

What does it mean when I say "order the medical evidence"? It simply means that letters are sent off to each and every doctor, hospital, and clinic that is listed on the disability application (this tells you how important it is to list all your medical sources on your disability application when you file your disability claim in California with social security).

After the MER letters (medical record request letters) are sent off, a claimant's case will typically go into a holding pattern. After all, without the medical records in hand, there's nothing to do on a case other than wait (this also tells you that its not a bad idea to send in your records, including your most recent records, when you apply).

Once the records have arrived, however (this can take weeks or months), a disability examiner will read them and evaluate them. Typically, the records come in at different points, so an examiner may choose to wait until they have all arrived and read them then, or the examiner may read them individually as they arrive and make notes along the way.

At some point, though, enough of the records will have come in so that a decision can be made (you might be surprised to know this, but decisions are sometimes made before all the records arrive, if what has come in is deemed to be sufficient---and, yes, this is a bad practice to follow and not a fair one).

How does the examiner make the decision? They read the records to see if the requirements for a listing in the impairment listing manual are met (this manual doesn't include every physical or mental impairment, by the way). If the requirements of a listing cannot be met or equaled, the examiner will determine whether or not a medical vocational allowance can be made. In other words, the examiner will consider the functional limitations a claimant has and will then consider whether or not the claimant can return to their past work or perform some form of other work (age and education are also factors). If the answer to both those questions is no, the claimant will be approved for disability.















Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions





























Filing for disability in California

How do I Apply for Disability Benefits in California

How long should you wait before you apply for disability?

SSD and SSI applications in California

What do you do if your California disability claim is denied?

Do you file for your children when you apply for disability in California?

Should you apply for disability in California after a denial?

How long does a disability case take in California

After you file for disability in California

Filing for disability in California and your condition

Filing a disability claim in California, long filing process




The California disability process

Do I need to be disabled a year in California to get disability?

The Social Security Disability process in California

California Disability determination process

Disability approval criteria in California

California Social Security Disability decisions

Steps to Win Social Security Disability benefits in California




Questions about disability in California

How much can you make in California and still apply for disability?

California Social Security Back Pay

Can Disability benefits be garnished in California?

Disability two year medicare waiting period in California

California review of Social Security Disability claim

California Social Security Disability status

VA disability and California Social Security Disability

Can a Congressman in California help on a disability case

How do examiners make disability decisions in California?

Applying for disability benefits in California




How long does disability take in California?

How long does it take to get a decision on a disability case in California?

Why do disability claims take so long in California?

How Long Will It Take To Get My Disability Decision If I Appeal in California?




Disability claims in California with certain conditions

Applying For Disability On the Basis of Back Pain in California

Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California

Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California




Winning California disability

Will a lawyer improve the chance to win disability in California?

Getting approved for disability in California

Winning disability in California




California Disability Lawyers and Representation

Getting a disability attorney in California

Finding a new disability attorney in California




Applying for SSI in California

Filing for SSI disability in California

SSI disability denied in California

Are SSI claims in California denied more than SSDI claims?

How to apply for SSI Disability in California




Doctors, medical records, and medical exams

Doctors and applying for disability in California

Can you be turned down for disability in California if your doctor says you are disabled?




Disability hearings in California

Disability Hearings in California

California quick disability hearing

How do I win my Social Security Disability Hearing in California?

How long does it take to get a disability hearing in California?




Disability denials in California

Disability Denied in California

If a disability claim is denied in California

Appealing a Social Security Disability denial in California

If you get denied Social Security Disability in California

Why are Most Disability Cases Denied in California?

Getting approved or denied for disability in California




Disability appeals in California

How do you file a disability appeal in California?

How many disability appeals do you get in California?

If your California disability appeal is denied, can you get another appeal?

If your disability reconsideration is denied in California

Filing a reconsideration appeal in California

Why was I denied disability in California?




Qualifying for disability in California

Qualifying for disability in California

Qualify for SSD in California

Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in California?




Disability lawyers in California

Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California

Cost of a California disability attorney

Why do disability lawyers in California sometimes not take cases?

Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California

Social Security Disability Attorney Fees In California

How do Disability Lawyers in California get paid their fees?

Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?

Lawyer for a disability hearing in California

Why was I denied disability in California?