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The determination process for SSD applicants

Applying for Social Security benefits can seem daunting. Even if you expected you would never have to apply for these benefits, unexpected life events could occur. Whether it is an injury at work, an automobile collision, a slip-and-fall incident or any other type of serious accident, an individual could suffer a disabling injury. If a person is no longer able to work, whether its temporary or permanent, he or she will likely seek out SSD benefits for injuries in order to get by and cover their necessary and basic living costs.

But an applicant does not receive SSD benefits just by simply applying or them. He or she must collect a multitude of documentation and information that evidences their disability. This information is them processed with the initial application that is sent to the Social Security Administration.

Next, the Disability Determination Services processes the application. Whether they obtained the application in person, by phone, by main or filing online, the DDS looks at all the information provided with the application. Each application and the forms related to the application ask for applicants to describe his or her impairment, what sources of treatment they are receiving and any other information that relates to his or her alleged disability.

The Social Security Administration is responsible for verifying any non-medical SSD requirements. This includes age, employment, marital status or Social Security coverage information. Then, the field office sends the case to the DDS, which is then responsible for evaluating if an applicant is disabled or not. If the DDS is unable to make a determination based on the information provided, the DDS may arrange for a consultative examination in order to obtain additional information.

If the DDS determines that the applicant is eligible, he or she will likely be approved for benefits at this point. However, if the DDS does not deem an applicant disabled, the applicant will be denied benefits. While this is difficult news to receive, it is not the end all to the process. An applicant could seek reconsideration or even file an appeal.

Source: Ssa.gov, "Disability Determination Process," accessed May 21, 2017

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