What gets asked at the the disability Interview for Social Security Disability and SSI?

The title of this refers to the Disability Interview for Social Security, as in Social Security Disability and SSI disability. However, the subtitle could easily be "what will be asked, how to prepare, who does the interview, how long does it take". This particular post was contributed by a former claims rep (claims reps take and process disability and retirement claims at social security field offices) who has recently separated from the agency.

What happens at a Social Security Disability interview and how should I prepare for the interview? Social Security conducts disability interviews by phone and in person at the local Social Security office; the process for either interview method is the same. A Social Security claims representative will ask questions about the work you have performed during the fifteen years prior to the date you became unable to work and your medical history for at least the twelve months prior to the date you became unable to work.

How do your prepare yourself for a Social Security Disability interview? You will have to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your treating physicians (including the hospitals), and for that reason you should complete the form sent to you in your disability claim packet (if you do not receive the form, write down your information and bring it with you to your interview appointment).

In addition to providing disability related information, you will have to provide Social Security with non-disability information about your marriages, children, workman's compensation, and military service during your disability interview.

How long will an average interview take? Generally, your Social Security Disability interview will last about an hour; obviously the interview will take longer if you do not know the above-mentioned medical and non-medical information.

What happens after your interview is completed and your claim for Social Security Disability or SSI is initiated? Your claim will be sent to a state agency that will make the disability claim decision. It is at this agency that a specialist known as an examiner will order your medical records and evaluate them to determine whether or not your condition meets the definition of disability used by the social security administration.

Typically, the decision process on an application for disability will take less than four months. However, claims can take longer due to a number of factors, such as the ability or inability of the examiner to get the necessary records. And, of course, if the claim is denied, and a reconsideration appeal is requested, the claim process will be longer by a number of months.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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