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Disability Determination Process at a Glance

If you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death, you may be considering applying for Social Security Disability, which is not a bad idea, especially since this is a program that you have to “pay into.”

When you pay into this program, you should definitely take advantage of it if you one day need it. In order to obtain disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has to review your medical records and “determine” if your condition meets the SSA’s definition of a disability.

To find out if you meet the SSA’s requirements, you’ll have to go through the disability determination process.

Here’s how the process works:

Step 1: Your application for disability benefits is submitted to a Social security representative at a local field office. You apply online, in person, by phone, or by mail. The application and the other forms will ask about your impairment, who has been treating you, and it will ask you for any other information related to your disability.

Step 2: The field officer will verify your non-medical eligibility requirements, such as your name, age, marital status, and Social Security history. After this verification is complete, the field office forwards your case to a state agency called Disability Determination Services or DDS to evaluate your disability.

Step 3: The DDSs are state agencies that are fully-funded by the federal government. The DDSs are responsible for carefully reviewing claimants’ medical evidence and rendering “initial” determinations – and whether or not the claimant fits the SSA’s definition of “disabled” under the law.

The DDS attempts to obtain sufficient medical evidence from the claimant’s own medical resources. If the claimant’s information is insufficient for any reason, the DDS will arrange to have the claimant receive a consultative examination or CE, so additional medical information can be obtained.

Does this mean that claimants see a doctor they’ve never met? As a matter of fact, the DDS prefers to have the examination performed by the patient’s treating source, but at times the DDs will have a different doctor perform the exam.

After the DDS has obtained sufficient information, the agency issues its initial disability determination. From there, the claimant’s case is forwarded to the local field office to take action.

If the DDS determines that the claimant is disabled, the field office will compute the benefit amount and begin disbursing payments. If the DDS determines that a claimant is NOT disabled, the claimant has the right to an appeal.

Looking for a Dallas Social Security Disability lawyer? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today for the professional legal representation you need and deserve.