Receiving SSI as a Child and Later as an Adult due to Job Difficulties

"My son was very premature and has numerous mental and cognitive disabilities. I use to get SSI for him when I was a single mom and he was a minor. Now that he is 18 I have applied for him to receive SSI once again since his disabilities will impair his ability to get any sort of job. I have been calling for status updates and the adjudicator in the determination dept. has informed me that he will be sending the medical proof to one of their doctors. He did mention how great one of the medical evaluations were. How long until I should expect to hear from them now?"

I am just guessing from the information that you have provided that he was able to receive SSI benefits as a child and that he stopped receiving those benefits due to a change in your income. And now that he is 18 (your income and your spouse's income do not count against him at 18), you are filing a claim for him as an adult disabled individual.

You stated that you have kept up with the status of his disability claim and that the "adjudicator in the determination department" (the adjudication department most likely being your state's equivalent of DDS, or disability determination services) has stated that he will be sending the medical proof to their doctor.

Well I am once again guessing that the adjudicator is a disability examiner in this case, and it appears that the examiner has just about completed his development and has sent their writeup of the medical evidence, along with a preliminary residual functional capacity, or RFC, rating to a physician for review. That physician, I should note, would be the examiner's medical consultant, who is attached to the same disability claim processing unit that the examiner works in.

If this is the case, you should "probably" be hearing something fairly soon. I say probably because sometimes a case can sit in a DDS doctor's office for much longer than it should. Also, a case can get delayed if it is one of those cases that are randomly intercepted by external quality control for a quality review check (allegedly, to make sure the examiner and his/her agency are doing their jobs correctly).

I am not sure of what to make of the examiner's comment that the medical evaluation was great. It could be that the examiner thinks it is great and that it bodes well for your son, or it could mean just mean the medical evaluation write up is great. Not sure and there's really now way to know.

If the disability claim is denied, of course, you should make sure to appeal the decision as soon as you can. You have sixty five days from the date of a denial notice (60 days for the appeal period plus an extra five days allotted for mailing time), usually stamped in the right hand corner of the denial notice, to complete the appeal and return it to Social Security.

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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