How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Who will decide my Social Security Disability claim?

If your case is at the initial claim level (which is the disability application) or the reconsideration appeal level, your disability claim will be decided by a disability examiner who works at a state claim-processing agency. This agency renders decisions on all types of disability claims for the social security administration, including SSI disability, Social Security Disability, and Medicaid for disabled adults. It is usually called DDS, or disability determination services, though in some states it goes by other names such as the Bureau of Disability Determination.

The job of the disability examiner is to gather your medical evidence and review it, looking for evidence of functional limitations that you might have, either mental or physical or both. In the case of adult claimants, the severity of these limitations will be compared to the types of work the person did in the past. In the case of child claimants, the severity of the limitations will be compared to the child's ability to engage in age-appropriate activities, which generally means the ability to perform at grade-level in school.

The examiner does not perform this task strictly on his own, however. The examiner is actually assigned to a case processing team. And this team includes a unit medical consultant, who is a medical doctor, and a pyschological consultant who is a Ph.D.-level psychologist. Both these individuals provide feedback for the disability examiner.

In some sense, these consultants do exactly what the disability examiner does since they read the available medical records in order to gain some idea of how the individual is physically or mentally limited, as well as how long these limitations may persist. Note: for Social Security Disability and SSI purposes, a person's state of disability must be projected to last for at least 12 months, or have already lasted this long by the time the claim is decided, before ongoing disability benefits may be granted.

The medical consultant and the psychological consultant will review the claimant's medical records and will also review the disability examiner's assessment of the case. In some instances, they may offer insight to the examiner regarding the claimant's specific condition and how the severity of the condition may reduce the individual's ability to engage in normal daily activities.

However, it is the disability examiner who fundamentally makes the decision and who, in the end, will decide to approve or deny a disability case--assuming, of course, that the disability examiner's supervisor does not override his or her decision and also assuming that the quality control unit does not have an issue with the examiner's decision-making process.

Continued at: What tools are used by a Social Security Disability Examiner to Make a Claim Decision?

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How does Social Security Decide if I am Disabled?
How Does Social Security Decide How Much I Get For Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Will Social Security Decide a Disability Case that's filed?
Who will decide my Social Security Disability claim?
Does Your Doctor Decide If You Get Disability Benefits from Social Security or SSI?
How does Social Security Disability Decide if you can Work or Not?
How does Social Security use Evidence to Decide an SSDI or SSI Disability Claim and Make a Decision?
What if Social Security Disability does not follow my doctor's assessment of my condition?
How long does it take to get a decision on disability in California?
How to apply for SSI Disability in California
How much does it cost to hire a Social Security Disability attorney in California?

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.