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How does the SSA evaluate disability claims?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2015 | Social Security Disability

Michigan residents who are disabled from work due to an illness or injury may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. SSD benefits are available to those who are able to honestly demonstrate an inability to work at any job they are otherwise qualified to accept.

Applications for SSD benefits can be filed by mail, by phone, in person or online. The application goes first to a Social Security Administration field office, which reviews the application to see if the applicant meets the non-medical requirements for benefits. These requirements can include age, marital status and employment.

The field office then forwards the application to a state Disability Determination Services office. The DDS’s are state agencies funded by the Social Security Administration. It is their job to evaluate the applicant’s medical condition to determine if the applicant meets the legal definition of disability. The DDS’s usually prefer to base their evaluation on information provided by the applicant’s own medical providers. If that is not feasible they may set up a consultative examination by a physician to get the additional information they need.

If the application is denied there is an appeal process. It is not unusual for a denial of benefits to be overturned on appeal.

The application process for SSD benefits is straightforward, but can be challenging for many individuals. When applying for Social Security Disability benefits it is extremely important to provide the SSA with all the medical information required. Failing to do so will often lead to a denial of benefits. An experienced Social Security Disability law firm can help the applicant prepare the application and all the supporting documentation necessary for the evaluation.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Evaluation Under Social Security,” accessed Sept. 28, 2015