Your medical condition, injury, or illness can negatively affect your life. It can prevent you from working or living a normal life. The Social Security Administration has a system and timeline for determining whether or not your condition fits their definition of a “disability.”
The disability claims process is long and frustrating for applicants. My Firm wants these applicants to understand how the system works so they can better anticipate changes or waiting periods. Call our office to speak with me or my staff that can answer many of your questions.
Disability Claims: From Office to Office
Initial claims are processed through a network of local Social Security Administration offices. These are the offices located in your town or city. From there, the claim may move to a State agency, usually called Disability Determination Services or DDSs. If you disagree with the decision made by these agencies, your appeal goes back to the DDS or to an administrative law judge in the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication Review.
Field offices have representatives from the Social Security Administration who are responsible for determining whether or not an applicant meets non-medical requirements, such as age, employment status, or marital status. They collect all of your application materials, including forms and medical records.
The Disability Determination Services are federally-funded State agencies that determine whether or not an applicant meets medical requirements for disability benefits. Their representatives make an initial decision about medical eligibility, but if more evidence is needed, they will request a consultative examination (CE). Usually, these exams are done by the applicant’s treating doctor.
Reaching a Decision
Once the DDS makes a decision, they give the case back to the local field office. If the applicant’s disability qualifies for benefits, then the office computes the monthly amount and begins to pay benefits. If the applicant’s disability doesn’t qualify, then their file is held at the local office in case the applicant decides to file an appeal.
Appealing a denied disability claim can involve many offices and levels of government. If you disagree with the decision Social Security has made in regards to your disability claim, call Michael F. Hacker, Attorney at Law & Councilor soon. You only have a few months to appeal, and the faster we get started, the faster you can get benefits.