Overview of Disability

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How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

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What if you get denied?

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Working and Disability

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Disability Conditions List

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Your Medical Evidence

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SSDRC Disability Blog

Proving a Social Security Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement from Your Doctor

After a Social security disability or SSI disability claim is taken at a social security field office, it is transferred to disability determination services where it is assigned to a disability examiner.

As the first step in the processing of the disability claim, the examiner will send out requests for the claimant's medical records. The wait for records may take weeks or sometimes even months, but at some point, the records will be received and the case can be evaluated.

The information contained in the records will be used to ascertain in what manner and to what degree the claimant is physically or mentally limited. And reaching these conclusions will be reflected in the physical residual functional capacity rating or mental residual functional capacity rating that is given to the claimant.

For adults, these ratings will be compared to the type of work the claimant did in the past and will allow the disability examiner to determine if the claimant can go back to a prior job or do some type of other work; for children, a rating can be used to determine if the child's condition prevents them from staying on pace in age-appropriate activities such as academic school work.

Ultimately, of course, what the medical records have to say about the individual's condition will determine whether or not the case is approved. How much information does the disability examiner need from the medical records to reach a decision, or to approve the case?

To approve a disability case, the examiner will need to be able to find sufficient information in the claimant's records to show that their current physical and/or mental limitations will not allow them to engage in work activity at a substantial and gainful activity level.

This can be difficult very often due to the fact that most doctors do not record information in their treatment notes as to what a person's limitations might be (such as difficulty with short-term memory, or difficulty with lifting more than a certain amount of weight, or difficulty grasping objects, etc).

And it is for this reason that a disability lawyer, after a case has reached the social security hearing level, will attempt to obtain a medical source statement from a claimant's doctor that conclusively specifies in what ways the claimant is limited.

Such statements tend to be very effective with disability judges at hearings, assuming that the statement is supported by the bulk of the medical evidence and that it also indicates limitations that rule out substantial and gainful work activity.

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

Related pages:

Proving a Social Security Disability Case Often Means Getting a Statement from Your Doctor
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits?
Proving Functional Limitations and why this is Important on a Disability Case
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Proving the requirements for disability in North Carolina
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
Is it possible that I will lose my disability benefits when my case is being reviewed?

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

How to file for disability, SSD or SSI
How to file for Disability and what medical conditions qualify
How long will it take to get disability?
What if your disability gets denied?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How to get disability with a mental condition
How long for Social Security Disability Back pay
Social Security Disability SSI eligibility