Who Determines Whether I Am Disabled Enough to Receive SSD Benefits?

If you cannot work, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. These benefits are paid to people who are severely disabled with a long-term medical condition that makes it impossible to have a job. There are very strict criteria to ensure that benefits are paid only to people who are truly unable to work. wheelchair-945156-m

If you are applying for benefits, a Disability Determination Specialist (DDS) will determine if you are disabled enough to receive SSD benefits. You must provide sufficient proof of your medical problems to convince the DDS to approve your claim. A Latham, NY Social Security Disability lawyer will assist you in completing an application and getting the medical proof of your disability.

Who Determines if You Are Disabled Enough to Receive SSD Benefits?

When you submit a claim for disability income, your local Social Security Administration office is going to consider whether you meet basic eligibility criteria for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).  Eligibility for SSI is determined based on your family income level and resources, since SSI is a needs-based program. Eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is determined based on whether you have earned enough work credits based on your age at the time of disability.

Once you meet the basic criteria for a disability program, your application is then sent to a Disability Determination Specialist whose job it is to determine if you are disabled enough to receive SSD benefits. The DDS will look at your medical records and information about your condition. If your medical problem is listed in the Blue Book, which is the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, then the DDS will look at whether you have the specific symptoms for that listed condition. If you do, and if your condition is expected to last for a year or already has lasted a year, then your claim should be approved provided you are not working or able to work.  If your condition is not listed, the DDS will need to determine if you have a health issue that is medically equivalent to other covered conditions.

If the DDS approves your claim, you will begin receiving benefits. If your claim is denied, then you may be able to appeal. Provided you submit the paperwork in time, the first stage of appeals is a request for reconsideration. This means your application is sent to a different DDS who will review it without considering the prior decision that was made. If the second DDS approves your claim, benefits can begin. If not, you will need to decide if you wish to pursue additional stages of appeal including a hearing in front of an administrative law judge; appeal to the SSA’s internal appeals board, or appeal to a federal court.

An experienced Latham, NY Social Security Disability lawyer will help you to determine how best to convince a DDS that you are disabled enough to receive SSD benefits, and can assist throughout the appeals process. Call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how an attorney can help.

Suzanne Latimer

Suzanne Latimer

Suzanne graduated cum laude in 1992 and was admitted to practice in Massachusetts that year and New York the following year. After graduation, Suzanne worked for twelve years as a solo practitioner, concentrating in the areas of Family and Matrimonial Law. Since 2005, Suzanne has served as Managing Partner at Latimer/Stroud, LLP.
Suzanne Latimer