Social Security Disability RC

How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
Social Security Disability list of impairments
How to Qualify for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyers FAQ, Disability Back Pay

Social Security Disability and SSI determinations and awards in Florida

Social Security Disability (SSD) and SSI are awarded to individuals in Florida who file disability applications who can prove A) they have a severe, ongoing medical condition, and B) this this condition prevents them from being able to earn a living, either at a job they've done in the past, or at some form of other work for which they might possibly be suited based on their age, education, skills, and functional capacity.

Social Security makes all SSD determinations based on these core issues, closely examining claimants’ medical records and work histories in the process.

When you first file for SSD or SSI in Florida you will meet with a Social Security claims rep (called a CR) in a local social security office, who takes disability applications and then passes them on to the state disability determination services (DDS) agency (where decisions on claims are made by disability examiners).

Medical Treatment sources

At this initial interview you should supply the CR with, at the very least, a detailed contact list of any medical professionals or facilities at which you have received treatment for your condition. Be sure to include correct names, adresses, and phone numbers on your medical history--without this information, Social Security may not be able to get your records.

If you can get copies of your medical records before you meet with the CR, so much the better. Many, if not most physicians, are slow to comply with requests for records in disability matters, so providing a complete copy of this information at the time of filing can greatly speed up a decision in your case. Be sure to include records of any licensed medical professional from which you have sought help for your symptoms, not just physicians.

Psychologists, osteopaths, optometrists, and podiatrists, while not M.D.s, are all considered acceptable medical treatment sources by Social Security.

A chiropractor is not recognized as a medical expert by Social Security, but the results of any objective tests the chiropractor performs, such as X-rays, should be included in your case file, as a disability examiner may consider them in his or her decision.

Your work history

In addition to your medical history, you must povide the CR with a complete, detailed work history of all of the jobs you’ve held in the last 15 years. Your work history is nearly as important as your medical history to the disability examiner who will decide your claim, because even those with obvious severe impairments (such as chronic pain, a debilitating injury, or even loss of limb) may be denied SSD if they cannot prove that their impairment prevents them from performing a past job or any other work at which they could earn the SGA amount.

SGA stands for substantial gainful activity, and if a disability examiner or judge decides that you could still earn the SGA amount you will be turned down for benefits. This, of course, is why it can be very important to have representation, particularly at the disability hearing level.

A good disability attorney can address the issue of whether an individual's condition sufficiently limits his or her ability engage in work activity that was previously performed, as well as address the issue of whether or not it is reasonable to believe that the claimant can switch to some form of other work that they have never done before.

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For the sake of clarity, 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 homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.