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Who makes the Social Security Disability decision in California?
Actually, the answer to this question depends on the level your claim is at. If your social security disability or SSI disability claim in California is being processed at the intial claim level, the decision will be made by a disability examiner who works at the state agency that handles medical evaluations for the social security administration in your particular state (in most states, this agency is known as either the bureau of disability determination or disability determination services). If your claim is being heard (or already has been heard) at a disability hearing, the decision will be made by an administrative law judge.
Of course, decisions by examiners are not nearly so absolute as decisions made by judges.
Disability examiners process SSDI (social security disability insurance) and SSI disability claims by gathering a claimant's medical records and analyzing them to see if the claimant meets the social security administration's disability approval standards. In the course of processing a claim, an examiner will read a claimant's records and compose a synopsis, or write-up, that reflects the examiner's recommendation (approval or denial) for the case. The examiner will then typically consult with either a medical or psychological consultant (an M.D. or a Ph.D.) who is assigned to his or her processing unit.
After the consultation is completed (and many cases will require a consultation with both types of consultants), a decision on the claim will be finalized and the case file will be reviewed by either the examiner's supervisor or the assistant supervisor (sometimes known as a case consultant)...for "more finalization". In other words, if one of these indvidual's has an issue with the examiner's conclusions, the examiner may have some additional work to do.
However, once the claim finally makes it through the supervisory gauntlet, it can begin to make it's way out of the state agency and back to the social security office. That is...if the file is not intercepted by quality control. If a regional quality control office "selects" the file for review, a claimant may have to wait several more weeks before learning what the decision on their claim is.
By marked contrast, when a federal administrative law judge makes a decision on a social security disability or SSI disability claim, the decision is simply the decision. Of course, if the decision is a denial, this may be appealed. But unlike the system in which disability examiners adjudicate disability claims, there is no one present to "second guess" the judge. Examiners, by comparison, are often second guessed by their unit consultants and supervisors as well as by quality control staff.
Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center
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Social Security Disability SSI and whether or not you can work
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Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI
Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
The SSI Disability Benefits Program
Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs
Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews
Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children
Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative
What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials
Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney
Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits
Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability
Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children
Disability Benefits through Social Security
Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records
Filing your claim for disability benefits
Eligibility for receiving disability benefits
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Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions
Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI
About the Author of SSDRC, Tim Moore
The SSDRC Disability Blog
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Disability in North Carolina
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Getting disability in North Carolina
Filing for disability in California
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SSD and SSI applications in California
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After you file for disability in California
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The California disability process
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The Social Security Disability process in California
California Disability determination process
Disability approval criteria in California
California Social Security Disability decisions
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Filing for Disability with Fibromyalgia in California
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Winning California disability
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Getting approved for disability in California
Winning disability in California
California Disability Lawyers and Representation
Getting a disability attorney in California
Finding a new disability attorney in California
Applying for SSI in California
Filing for SSI disability in California
SSI disability denied in California
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Doctors, medical records, and medical exams
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Disability Denied in California
If a disability claim is denied in California
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If you get denied Social Security Disability in California
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Getting approved or denied for disability in California
Disability appeals in California
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If your disability reconsideration is denied in California
Filing a reconsideration appeal in California
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Qualifying for disability in California
Qualifying for disability in California
Qualify for SSD in California
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Disability lawyers in California
Using a Social Security Disability Attorney in California
Cost of a California disability attorney
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Hiring a Disability Lawyer in California
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Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?
Lawyer for a disability hearing in California
Why was I denied disability in California?