Who Decides if I am Disabled?

After reviewing your application, the SSA will send it to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.

If you feel that you have a disability that prevents you from working, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Once you apply, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will review your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits. After reviewing your application, the SSA will send it to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.

The Disability Determination Services is a state agency and will complete the disability decision for the Social Security Administration. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency will contact your doctors regarding your condition. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated.

Disability Determination Services may need more medical information before they can decide if you are disabled. If more information is not available from your current medical sources, Disability Determination Services may ask you to go for a special examination. They will sometimes use your own doctor, but they might also ask you to see one of their doctors.

The Social Security Administration says that they use 5 steps to decide if you are disabled and qualify for Social Security Disability or SSI, they are:

• Are you working?
• Is your medical condition “severe”?
• Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?
• Can you do the work you did before?
• Can you do any other type of work?

Talk to an experienced Social Security attorney about your disability and any questions you might have regarding Social Security Disability or SSI.