Will I be given an SSI Denial and will Social Security call my past employers?

Here's a question that was recently sent in by someone.

"Everybody always says that you always get turned down when you first apply. I applied for SSI two months ago, no attorney involved. I assume they will investigate with my doctors. Will they call my past employers or have an investigator follow me around to see if I am faking or deserve to get SSI?"

I have heard this sentiment many hundreds of times over several years: "It's pretty much guaranteed that you will be denied for disability the first time you apply".

First things first. No, it's not guaranteed that if you file for disability you will automatically be denied that first time. Statistics on approvals and denials tend to vary by state (which, I think adds strength to the argument for bringing the entire system under direct federal control) and they tend to fluctuate over time.

However, generally speaking, about seventy percent of all initial claims (an initial claim is a disability application) are denied. And the flip side of that is that 30 percent are approved. Nearly 1 in 3.

Secondly...or thirdly, since I'm going out of order, will SSA hire or dispatch an investigator to follow you around? No, this doesn't happen. Why? Because the social security administration is not an insurance company (insurance companies do engage in this sort of behavior so be mindful if you have a long term disability or workmen's compensation claim).

Thirdly, will social security contact your past employers? Not as standard operational procedure; however, the disability examiner who works on your case at the disability application or reconsideration appeal level may decide to contact one or more of your past employers to clarify information, such as the nature and duties associated with your past employment.

Why is this done? Because how your past work is classified can impact whether or not you are denied on the basis of being able to return to your past work. How your work is classified can also determine your skill levels and this can work to impact whether or not you may be denied on the basis of being able to perform other types of work.

The main point to take, of course, from item 3, is that it is very important to provide social security with an accurate and detailed description of your past employment and what it entailed.


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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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