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

The Decision on Social Security Disability or SSI is based on evidence of functional limitations

For a Social Security Disability or SSI claim that is being determined at DDS, or disability determination services, the decision is based on evidence of functional limitations.

Functional limitations are extrapolated from the information contained in the claimant's medical records. What does the social security administration consider to be limitations? Specific limitations might refer to how long a person can sit, stand, or walk during the course of a normal work day. Or how much they can lift. Or whether or not they can tolerate heights and hazards, or see or hear or smell sufficiently.

There are mental limitations as well, and these can include a reduced ability to concentrate and pay attention, maintain a work pace, learn new information, remember previously learned information, avoid job hazards, and interact appropriately with other individuals such as work colleagues and managers, as well as an impaired ability to adapt to changes in the work environment, or

Functional limitations that are noted by the disability examiner will be used to determine whether or not the claim is approved or denied. However, the disability examiner does not make the decision entirely by himself. Before the case can be decided, the examiner will consult with one or more consultants that are part of the examiner's case processing unit.

If the claim is based on just one or more physical conditions, the examiner will consult with a medical consultant (very often, right down the hall from the examiner's cubicle or office) who is an M.D. physician. If the disability claim is based on a mental condition, the examiner will consult with PH.D. - level psychologist who is also part of the examiner's unit. Very often, as many cases involve both physical and mental conditions, the disability examiner will need to consult with, and obtain the approval of, both unit consultants before a final decision can be made.

Once the decision on the case is made, the claimant's file is transferred back to the social security office where it was originally taken.

Can a claimant contact disability determination services and speak to the disability examiner about their case? Yes, and it may even be possible to meet with the examiner to ask about the progress and status of the claim. However, in a large percentage of cases, the examiner will actually contact the claimant to inquire about their work history, medical history, or their daily activities.

Note: Information about ADLs, or activities of daily living, can give the disability examiner additional insights into what ways the claimant might be functionally limited. Or the reverse, indicating how capable they are actually are with regard to day-to-day tasks.

The disability examiner, however, cannot release any information to the claimant regarding what the decision on the case might be, or what the decision actually is (assuming that a decision has been reached). This is because formal notification must be made by the social security administration and also because some cases are randomly selected for quality control checks which, in a small percentage of cases, can actually change the outcome of a disability case.

How? If the quality control division, known as DQB--disability quality branch--finds that the disability examiner did not evaluate the medical evidence properly, or did not apply a regulation or rule properly, an approval can become a denial.

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 long does it take to get a decision on Social Security Disability or SSI?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal is Made
How Quickly Is The Disability Claim Decision Made?
Is Social Security required to make a decision on a disability case in a certain time period?
Social Security evaluates work history when making disability decisions
Social Security Disability decisions use two main criteria
Disability decisions are based on functional limitations
Factors affecting how long a Social Security decision letter takes
How Long Will it Take To Get a Disability Decision Letter from Social Security?
Avoid delays to reduce how long does it take to get a disability decision
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Arkansas

If you apply for disability in Arkansas

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.