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SSDRC Disability Blog

When does a case go to the Social Security Disability review board?

Someone recently submitted the following question: "My case has been approved by dds, but has been sent to the Quality review board. Is this social security's way of making sure that DDS did their job correct?".

The quality review board being referred to is something known as DQB, or disability quality branch. This is a facet of the social security administration that reviews cases that have been processed by disability examiners.

Officially, the purpose of a DQB review is to ensure that the decisions made by disability examiners on social security disability claims and SSI disability claims are correct and proper.

However, it's the opinion of many disability examiners that there's more to it than that. Specifically what I mean is this: as a disability examiner, the returns (cases that are intercepted by DQB, reviewed, and then sent back to DDS, or disability determination services, to be worked on again) noticed by myself and other examiners tended to be cases that had been marked for approval, not cases that had been marked for denial.

In other words, there seemed to be a clear pattern that indicated that the social security administration was looking far more closely at cases that examiners had determined should be approved, and not as closely at cases that disability examiners had determined should be denied. And the only plausible reason for that seemed to be an agency slant toward saving money...which is another way of saying holding down the number of approved cases...which is another way of saying trying to deny more cases.

Should it surprise anyone that the social security administration might have a bias against approving claims? Not at all. In my own opinion, it is the manner in which the "social security disability quality review board" works that has a direct and immediate influence on how cases are decided in the various state DDS agencies.

And, of course, there is the uncomfortable fact that higher-ups within the social security administration have actually advocated that the disability hearing appeal should include an SSA attorney, effectively turning the hearing level into something far less than an objective process and into an interest-based adversarial process.

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

Related pages:

How does Social Security establish when disability claims are to be reviewed?
What happens in front of a disability judge?
All Social Security Disability and SSI cases get a review
How long does it take to be approved and awarded disability benefits?
When does a case go to the Social Security Disability review board?
How long will an SSI or SSDI disability claim take?
Using a lawyer to potentially speed up the disability appeal process
Speeding up the Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Process
Social Security Award Letter and being due a substantial back pay amount
Reasons to get a representative who specializes in disability claims only
When you apply for social security disability should you send copies of your xrays?
Getting approved for disability based on being blind
How to answer questions at a Social Security Disability CE examination
What disability claimants get angry about - Part II
How does Social Security consider pain?

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 provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How to file for disability, filing tips
What to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits
Applying for disability benefits, SSI and SSDI
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability?
Will you get disability back pay?
Social Security Disability And SSI Qualifications
Permanent Disability Qualifications for SSD and SSI
Social Security Disability SSI status
Disability lawyer representation, finding lawyers
Who will qualify for disability and what qualifying is based on
Qualifications for Disability Benefits
Important points about filing for disability
How long does it take to get disability after applying?
Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability?
Who is eligible for SSI disability?
How to get disability in Florida