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Who makes the decision on if I'm disabled?

When applying for Social Security disability, who makes the decision as to whether or not you are disabled? After you apply for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will determine if you meet the minimum requirements to receive disability benefits. In other words, they will examine whether you have worked long enough to qualify for disability. They will also look at your current work activities.

The Disability Determination Services office in your state will then receive your application after processing. It is here that your initial disability determination decision will be made. The state agency will want to get some information from your doctors on your medical condition. All of the facts in your case will be considered and the medical evidence from where you have been treated, such as hospitals, clinics and doctors will also be considered.

Your doctors will be asked about:

-- Your medical conditions

-- When the conditions started

-- How the conditions affect and limit your activities

-- The results of any medical tests that have been done

-- The treatment you have received for the medical conditions.

Your doctors will also be questioned about whether you can walk, sit, lift, carry and remember instructions. Your doctor, though, is not the one who makes the determination as to whether you are disabled.

If there is not enough information about your medical condition available, then the agency may ask that you have a special examination done. This exam will be paid for by Social Security, as will some of the costs of travel.

Social Security Disability insurance can be very complex and a denial can make it seems as though you should just give up. However, an experienced attorney can help you appeal such a decision and will work to get you the benefits you deserve.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Social Security Disability Benefits," accessed Oct. 28, 2016

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