Who decides if I am disabled?

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Social Security Disability Information Guide

Who decides if I am disabled?

Your application will be reviewed to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefit and whether you worked enough years to qualify. Also, we will review any current work activities. If you meet these requirements, we will send your application to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.

This state agency completes the disability decision. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency ask your doctors for information about your condition. They will consider all the facts in your case. They will use the medical evidence from your doctors and hospitals, clinics or institutions where you have been treated and all other information. They will ask your doctors:

  • What your medical condition is;
  • When your medical condition began;
  • How your medical condition limits your activities;
  • What the medical tests have shown; and
  • What treatment you have received.

They also will ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying and remembering instructions. Your doctors are not asked to decide if you are disabled.

The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you are disabled. If more information is not available from your current medical sources, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination. Sometimes the exam may have to be done by someone other than your doctor. Social Security will pay for the exam and for some of the related travel costs.

How the decision is made by Social Security Disability

Special rules for blind people

When the decision is made

When the state agency reaches a decision on your case, you will receive a letter. If your application is approved, the letter will show the amount of your benefit and when your payments start. If your application is not approved, the letter will explain why and tell you how to appeal the decision if you do not agree with it.

What if I disagree?

If you disagree with a decision made on your claim, you can appeal it.

Continue >> When and how can I appeal?

Social Security Disability Information

Who can get Social Security disability benefits?

How do I meet the earnings requirement for benefits?

When should I apply and what information do I need?

Who decides if I am disabled?


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