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How the Decision on an Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made

It can make you feel anxious and vulnerable when you can no longer work due to a disability and realize you must apply for social security disability insurance (SSDI) for income. Perhaps you have heard that the application is time-consuming and overwhelming and that most people receive a denial after their first application. At Legal Chat Now, we feel that knowledge is power. Knowing what to expect after you apply or submit an appeal gives you more of a sense of control over the outcome.

What Happens After You Submit an Application for SSDI?

You submit your application in person or send it to a local processing center, not the federal government in Washington, D.C. Once received, an employee known as a claims representative reviews your application for completeness. Specifically, he or she ensures that it includes the following information:

  • A description of the physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working.
  • Your complete medical history as it pertains to this ailment.
  • Your complete work history or the educational and testing history if you’re applying for SSDI on behalf of a child.

You will receive a letter of denial if you failed to include any of the required information on your application. However, you can apply again by furnishing the missing details within the timeline stated in your letter.

While a claims representative at your local SSDI office completes the initial review of your application, this is only the first step in the process. From there, your application goes to a state disability determination service agency tasked with the responsibility of approving or denying it. An employee known as a disability examiner or a case processing specialist takes over at this point. It is his or her job to determine if you meet the legal definition of disability. This involves completing the following steps:

  • Obtain valid copies of your medical records.
  • Make a list of your past places of employment along with the job requirements and the skills you needed to do your job.
  • Mail you a form asking you to describe your activities of daily living in detail. If your disability prevents you from providing this information, the disability examiner may contact a third party who has knowledge of your medical condition.
  • Work with a psychologist or medical doctor to determine the mental or physical capabilities that you still have. SSDI refers to this as your residual functional capacity.

How a Disability Examiner Processes Your Case

The first thing the disability examiner does after receiving assignment of your case is to contact all of the doctors, hospitals, and clinics you listed on your application to receive your medical records. This can take considerable time depending on the responsiveness of each provider. Once the records come in, he or she compares the information to that in the list of impairments maintained by the SSDI. The disability examiner then determines if your medical records make a case for you having a disability as recognized by the organization.

Next, the disability examiner speaks to a psychological or medical consultant who works in his or her processing unit. They review your records together to answer the following questions:

  • Can you return to your previous job or any similar type of job you have performed in the past 15 years? If so, you must be able to earn a living wage at the job.
  • Can you perform another type of job if the answer to the first question is no?

You will receive an approval if processing team determines that you can’t perform any other type of work with your current level of education and experience. However, the organization typically attempts to find something you can do to earn a livable wage and then deny your request. If denied, you can submit a request for reconsideration. It’s only when SSDI also denies this as well, which they overwhelmingly do, that you would officially file an appeal.

Increase Your Chances of SSDI Success with an Experienced Attorney

It’s normal to feel frustrated and like you should give up after SSDI denies your application for benefits. You may even feel so overwhelmed you don’t want to submit an initial application. We can help in either situation. At Legal Chat Now we recommend several law firms for such endeavors:

In Montgomery Alabama The lawyers at The Dansby Law Firm are great assets to have on your side. You can contact them at at 334-834-7001 or toll-free at 877-834-7001 to request a free legal consultation.

If you’re in Mobile, Alabama we recommend you contact the Walton Law Firm for assistance with your initial claim or appeal. You can contact them at 251-455-5819.

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