ILLINOIS Social Security Disability DECISIONS

What is the Social Security Disability decision making process in Illinois?

Generally speaking, the decision making process works like this: a disability examiner at disability determination services (the state agency that handles medical determinations for Social Security Disability, ssi, and even medicaid cases) will request your medical records. Once those records are received, the disability examiner will begin to do a write-up of your case.

In one sense, the write-up is a synopsis of the more noteworthy elements found in your medical records. In another sense, the write-up may be seen as a justification for the decision that will, ultimately, be made on a case. I say ultimately because, as most insiders know and realize, the disability examiner does not have the final say on the case, and the final write-up may or may not be the original opinion of the examiner.

Following the examiner's write-up, the examiner will "consult" with the relevant specialist assigned to his working unit. DDS units have a medical consultant (an M.D.) and a psychological consultant (typically a Ph.D, though sometimes this function may be handled by a psychiatrist who is an M.D.) assigned to them and the examiner will need to consult with one or both of these individuals depending on the claimant's particular impairments (for example, depression, back pain, panic attacks, ms, etc).


1. How many Social Security Disability cases are approved for back pain?
2. SSD AND SSI Disability Benefits and Back Pain
3. Social Security Disability SSI and back pain from Degenerative Disc Disease

Usually, this consultation occurs in this manner: the examiner will deliver the file and write-up to the consultant's office, the consultant will review the file and the examiner's write-up, and the consultant will return the file and write-up to the examiner either agreeing or disagreeing. In any event, the consultant's opinion is typically the final word on the case and will dictate the outcome, i.e. an approval or denial.

Sometime after the decision is made, of course, the claimant will receive either a notice of approval or a notice of denial. If the decision is a denial, the disability applicant may choose to file an appeal, and, ultimately, the case may go before an administrative law judge in Illinois.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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