How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Who Makes The Social Security Disability Decision, A Judge Or A Caseworker?

The Social Security Administration does not actually use caseworkers. Caseworkers are typically employed at various departments of mental health and departments of Social Services. Social Security uses claims representatives (CRs) to take the actual disability application or appeal in a local social security field office. Once the claims representative has gathered all of the needed information (at, and after, the disability application interview), they send the disability claim to a state agency (Disability Determination Services, or DDS) for a medical decision.

Once at the state agency, disability examiners, physicians, and vocational staff are involved in making Social Security Disability decisions. If an individual’s disability claim is denied, they will have to begin an appeal process that might end with an administrative law judge making their Social Security Disability decision.

Prior to going to a disability hearing, an individual must first file a reconsideration appeal that is sent to the same state disability agency that made their initial disability claim decision. The "request for reconsideration" is the first appeal that is available to claimants who have been denied on their application for disability.

It should be no surprise that, at level of a reconsideration appeal, very few initial disability claim denials are reversed to an allowance, especially since the disability decision is being made at the same state disability agency using the same strict decisional guidelines. The only real difference is that a different disability examiner will make the reconsideration disability decision. Unless the first disability examiner made a clear error in the medical determination, or there is new material evidence that allows the reconsideration appeal to be approved, the outcome can almost be guaranteed to be the same.

For most, the only encouraging thing about a reconsideration appeal is that the denial allows an individual to appeal their disability case to an administrative law judge. Although judges have to use the same disability guidelines to make their decisions, they have more flexibility in their interpretation of the medical evidence and the application of the Social Security Disability vocational guidelines. Perhaps this is why more disability claims are approved when a judge makes the disability decision.

The national approval rate for disability ALJs is about sixty six percent, which makes it the most favorable level of the disability process. In a nutshell, Social Security medical decisions are made both by disability examiners and administrative law judges. There are no “caseworkers” in Social Security.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

Do CE exams usually result in denials for disability?
How to get disability, tip 1
How often do you have to recertify for Social Security Disability or SSI?
How long does it take to get a decision on Social Security Disability or SSI?
What kind of Final Decision can I receive on my Disability Application?
How are Decisions on SSDI and SSI Disability Claims made by SSA?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal is Made
Who Makes The Social Security Disability Decision, A Judge Or A Caseworker?
How long does the Social Security judge take to make a decision on a case?
Will an SSI or Social Security Exam help with the Decision?
Can you get a Social Security Disability decision in under a month?
Still Waiting For My Social Security Disability Decision
The average amount of time it takes for a disability decision
Social Security Disability, SSI Decisions – What Is the Rate of Approval?
Social Security On The Record Disability Decisions

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.