How the Social Security Administration Determines Disability
A disabling condition can make it impossible for an individual to work and support themselves. Fortunately, those who struggle with this type of situation are typically entitled to receive financial assistance in the form of Social Security disability benefits. However, in order to receive these benefits, it is first necessary that an applicant’s disability be recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA uses a straightforward process in determining whether or not an individual should be considered disabled. The following is a brief explanation of the various steps that are taken in determining whether or not an applicant is qualified as disabled:
- The applicant’s benefit claim is filed with their local Social Security office.
- After determining whether or not the individual is eligible for benefits in non-medical respects, the application is forwarded to Disability Determination Services.
- Disability Determination Services investigates provided and available medical evidence. If the available evidence is not sufficient to make a determination, a consultative examination is arranged to provide the additional evidence necessary to make the determination.
- After a determination is made, the results are returned to the Social Security office and appropriate action is taken.
These are the basic stages of the disability determination process followed by the Social Security Administration. It is important to note, however, that this process can take a considerable length of time to be successfully completed, meaning that it can delay the benefits that a disabled individual may need for a significant period. This depends significantly on the state in which you live: states such as California, which are highly populated, often have a backlog, whereas states such as North Carolina, which are less densely populated, are less likely to have substantial backlogs.