Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

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.

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

Related pages:

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

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria