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Why Can't the Examiner Tell me What the Decision on my Disability Case was?

Someone recently described the following (paraphrased) scenario with regard to their social security disability case:

I filed for disability, was denied, and then filed for reconsideration. I didn't hear back on my case for a long time and for that reason I called the disability examiner. I was told that a decision had already been made on my case and they couldn't tell me anything more. I don't get it. Was I denied. If so, why can't they tell me?.

This is a fairly easy question to answer. If, after filing for disability you learn that a decision has been made on your SSD or SSI disability claim and you contact the disability examiner who processed your case to learn what the decision was, they simply will not be able to tell you. Why? As a matter of policy they are prohibited from doing so. But this is for a reason that most applicants for disability might never guess which is this: between the time that the disability decision has been made by an examiner and the time that a claimant receives their actual notice of decision...the decision could change.

How is this? Here's how. A small percentage of cases that are decided by disability examiners are selected for external quality control review by something known as DQB, or disability quality branch. When a case gets sent to DQB it can remain there for quite a while. It can also coming back as something other than what it was when it arrived there. In other words, the disability quality branch might determine that the case that was approved by the disability examiner should have been a social security disability denial. Or, vice-versa (though, it is no secret that DQB very seldom takes a case that was denied by a disability examiner and overturns it, making it an approval).

So, therefore, the reason why an examiner is prohibited from telling any claimant what the decision on their case was is simply due to the fact that, ultimately, because external quality control may change the decision, the examiner does not have the final say on the claim. And, thus, the answer they give to the claimant over the phone may turn out to be wrong.

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

Related pages:

Long-Term Disability From Back Injuries
Does Depression Make Your Head Ache?
How does music affect stroke victims?
How do you Apply for SSI?
How long will it take to receive my Social Security Award letter and back pay?
Will I qualify for disability if I tried to go back to work?
Can I get disability for arthritis in my shoulders, arms, and feet?
How to File for SSI
Eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Applying for Disability with high blood pressure
Filing for disability based on Borderline Personality Disorder
How to file for disability in Oregon
Can you file for disability with sleep apnea
Does Social Security Hold Back The First five Months Of Back Pay?

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

Social Security Disability attorneys and representatives
What is the status of your social security disability or SSI case
Rules and requirements to apply for disability
Will I qualify for disability?
Apply for disability for any medical condition
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
If your disability claim is approved or denied
Social Security Award letter for SSD, SSI
Temporary Social Security Disability SSI
Social Security Disability SSI reviews
How social security evaluates attention deficit
Filing for disability with Post polio syndrome
Tips for Getting Disability Approved
How far back Social Security will pay SSDI or SSI
SSI award notices are received by approved claimants
Winning and getting disability with a mental condition
Getting disability for rheumatoid arthritis
Can you work if you get Disability?
Who qualifies for SSI and how
How to file for disability and where to apply
Conditions that may qualify as disability
Denied on a disability application
Answering questions at a Social Security Disability hearing