Who Decides If I Am Disabled? 

Social Security will review your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits. They will check whether you worked enough years to qualify. Also, they will evaluate any current work activities. If you meet these requirements, they will process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.

This state agency completes the initial disability determination decision for Social Security. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They’ll consider all the facts in your case. They’ll use the medical evidence from your doctors, hospitals, clinics, or institutions where you’ve been treated and all other information.

They’ll ask your doctors about:

  • Your medical condition(s)
  • When your medical condition(s) began
  • How your medical condition(s) limit your activities
  • Medical tests results
  • What treatment you’ve received

They’ll also ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying, and remembering instructions.

Your doctors don’t decide if you’re disabled. The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you’re disabled. If your medical sources can’t provide needed information, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination. It’s preferred to ask your own doctor, but sometimes the exam may have to be done by someone else. Social Security will pay for the exam and for some of the related travel costs.

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