Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Who Looks at Your Medical Records in a Social Security Disability or SSI Case?

I thought I'd post this because there often seems to be a certain amount of misunderstanding regarding how medical records are evaluated by the social security administration, i.e. who actually looks at your medical records when you have a claim for disability with SSA.

In a prior post, I pointed out that social security looks at everything (every piece of medical evidence) that is gathered. However, this does not mean that medical records are evaluated, or even looked at by the social security office where a person goes to file for disability.

I've said this possibly hundred times in the past but it's worth repeating: the social security office only takes the disability application. They don't work on it. The actual work of evaluating a claim--reading the medical records and considering them, along with vocational factors, in order to arrive at a decision on a claim--is done at a state level agency that, depending on the state you live in, is usually known as disability determination services, or DDS. The agency often goes by other names in different states, but that's a meaningless distinction. Each state agency has the responsibility of making decisions on SSD and SSI disability claims.

After a claim for disability benefits is taken in a social security field office by a CR, or claims representative, it is transmitted to a DDS office where it is assigned to a disability examiner. That is the individual who actually gathers the medical records and conducts an evaluation of the claim.

So, if it does not seem as though the "social security office" is paying attention to the information that has been submitted on a disability claim, that's because it is simply not their job. Their job is to take the claim and then send it to where it can be assigned to a disability examiner for processing.

It's worth noting, I should say, that social security field offices do a lot more than just take disability claims (for those who think they don't do much in the course of a day). They deal with widow's claims, overpayment issues, retirement claims, and generally receive more phone calls than it is humanly possible to return. Social security field offices also deal with issues involving the public that, to say the least, are taxing and straining. Not the kind of job that many people could long tolerate and certainly not for fantastic pay. Which, of course, goes hand in hand with jobs that are considered public service.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

Denial of Disability, Pain, and Medical Records
Filing for Disability for a Child
Disability Claim Denied
Social Security Disability and What Your Medical Records Have to Say
How to get disability
SSI Application for Disability Benefits
What Are the Chances for an MS Patient to Get Social Security Disability?
What do you do if you get denied for Social Security Disability or SSI?
Multiple Sclerosis, Social Security Disability, SSI - Applying for Disability
How do you apply for Social Security Disability or SSI - How to file
Hepatitis C Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability
Working while collecting Social Security Disability or SSI - It may not be worth it
Arthritis Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability