What Will Social Security Ask You?
As our other blog post pointed out regarding the length of time it takes to receive their disability benefits, claimants can expect to wait a lengthy amount of time when pursuing disability benefits. During this time, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and/or Disability Determination Services (DDS) will ask you to perform a myriad of tasks.
DDS is a state agency that works with the SSA for disability decisions. DDS staff helps to develop the medical evidence in every case, and, once that is completed, will make the initial and reconsideration disability determination.
DDS may ask the claimant for the following:
- Forms: These include but are not limited to Function Reports (describing activities of daily living), Work History Reports (detailing a claimant’s past fifteen years of work), and several different types of questionnaires based on disabling conditions. DDS often only gives claimants ten days to return the above documents, or they may deny the claim.
- Medical Records: DDS will request records from medical sources they are made aware of; however, DDS only gives sources a very limited timeframe to receive their records.
- Consultative Examinations (CE): If DDS needs more information in order to make a decision, they may request you attend a CE, where you will be examined by an independent doctor on SSA’s dime. These appointments are typically very brief; although they are short-lived, they are very important to a case. I always advise my clients give their very best effort at these appointments. After the exam, the doctor will render an opinion as to what you are still able to physically or mentally do despite your conditions and limitations. Failure to attend a CE may very well result in a denial of your benefits.
Once DDS makes a decision, your case is transferred back to your local SSA field office. If your case was denied, SSA will offer the claimant the following:
- Appeals: If you were denied at the initial, reconsideration, or hearing levels, you have the option of appealing that denial within 60 days. Appealing a denial before the 60-day deadline is vital. Missing a deadline can result in a loss of past-due benefits or “backpay,” among other considerations.
As you can see, there are lots of moving parts to a disability claim. It’s hard enough for claimants to keep up with doctors’ orders, appointments, and medication regimens. Wading through Social’s Security’s red tape, paperwork, and deadlines can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible. You have the right to legal representation. If you need help with your claim, please feel free to contact our office and speak to myself or one of our qualified attorneys.