Social Security's Process of Determining a Disability

What is the Process for Filing a Disability Claim?

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 (SSA) 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. Hire an experienced attorney to understand how the system works so you can better anticipate changes or waiting periods.

How are Disability Claims Processed?

Initial claims are processed through a network of local SSA 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 (DDSs). These agencies 

determine whether or not an applicant meets medical requirements for disability benefits. 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 SSA who collect all of your application materials, including forms and medical records. They are also responsible for determining whether or not an applicant meets non-medical requirements, including:

  • Age
  • Employment status
  • Marital status

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. 

What Happens After a Disability Claim is Decided?

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 the Coye Law Firm immediately. You only have a few months to appeal, and the faster we get started, the faster you can get benefits.


Call 407.648.4940 or contact Coye Law Firm today for a free, private strategy session about your case.

The expert disability attorneys at Coye Law Firm are experienced with Florida, New York, Michigan, and District of Columbia law and are here to help the disabled.

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