Social Security Disability Resource Center
Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions
How is the Determination for Disability made by Social Security?
How is the determination for disability made by the social security administration? The process used by the social security administration in both programs (SSD, or social security disability, and SSI, also known as supplemental security income) follows the following steps:
1. An individual will file a disability claim with SSA, either:
A) online (not a preferred option since it does not allow for one-to-one contact with a social security representative who can directly answer questions and ALSO since many claims will be concurrent--meaning for both social security disability and SSI--and an SSI disability application cannot be filed online),
B) over the phone with a representative at a local social security office,
C) in person at a local social security office, or D) over the phone via the teleclaims center--again, not a preferred option since a claimant will not have option to meet with, and address questions to, the representative at the teleclaims center.
2. The disability claim will be transferred to DDS (disability determination services) where it will be assigned to a disability examiner. The examiner will request all applicable records (medical records, school records, testing records, and, in some cases, employment records) and once these records have arrived the examiner will begin processing the case.
3. The disability examiner will determine what mental or physical functional limitations exist for the claimant (based on the information contained in the medical and/or school records). These limitations will then be compared to the demands of the claimant's work history and a decision will be made as to whether or not the claimant can return to their past work or perform some type of other work. An applicant who can do neither will satisfy the requirements for disability and will be granted disability benefits.
For a child filing for disability, the determination will be made as to whether or not the child is able to perform age-appropriate activities at the same pace as their peers and, if unable, will also be granted disability benefits assuming that the child also meets the non-medical requirements for disability.
Note: since SSI is a need based program, the child and his or her parents must also fall under certain income and asset level restrictions in addition to satisfying the actual disability eligibility requirements
Individuals who apply for disability, whether this involves an application for a disabled adult, or an application filed on behalf of a child, should understand from the outset that social security will base all decisions on information obtained from medical providers and potentially schools in the case of children, as well employers in some cases.
Though disability examiners do not routinely gather information from past employers this does occasionally happen when the examiner cannot resolve certain questions about a claimant's past jobs from the information supplied by the claimant.
For this reason, it is never a bad idea for a claimant or potential claimant to review their records beforehand to see what information is contained and how it is presented.
In the case of medical records, this may lead to a discussion with one's doctor or doctors as to whether or not the physician might seem inclined to provide a supporting statement, or even to include statements in future medical records as to the possibility of referencing the claimant's functional limitations within the treatment notes created by the doctor (because evidence regarding functional limitations provides the foundation for the approval of a disability claim, or a disability case being denied.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
New and featured pages on SSDRC.com
Social Security Disability Requirements
Social Security Disability list of impairments
Social Security Disability Application
Can you get disability for arthritis of the knee?
How much income can you earn on Social Security disability?
If you get denied at a disability hearing, can you win later?
How much can an attorney charge for Social Security disability?
Can you get approved for disability based on Ulcerative Colitis?
The Most Basic questions about Getting Disability Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability
Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Medical exams for disability claims
Applying for Disability in various states
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits
FAQ on Disability Claim Representation
Disability hearings before Judges
Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
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
Resources on this site
Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
For Individuals living in North Carolina
Applying for Disability in North Carolina
North Carolina Disability Lawyer
The Steps of The Social Security Disability Determination Process
How is the Determination for Disability made by Social Security?
Appealing A Social Security Disability Determination
Who makes the Determination of a Social Security Disability Claim?
Getting a Social Security Disability Determination After Seeing a Psychologist at a Mental Evaluation
Disability determination services in North Carolina
How does the North Carolina Social Security disability determination process work?
If you get Social Security Disability and go back to work, do you have to pay anything back?
Filing for disability and switching to other work when you have medical problems
If you apply for disability in in Georgia
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Georgia?
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
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