Who and What is the Disability Examiner? | Tampa Social Security Disability Lawyer

Your initial application for Social Security Disability benefits will be reviewed by disability examiner. In each of the 50 states there is a State Agency which is generally known as Disability Determination Services. This agency is responsible for handling your initial application and your Request for  Reconsideration.

Your file is assigned to a disability examiner who obtains your medical records from the medical providers you listed on your application. Once your records are received, the disability examiner will review your file and your medical records. The disability examiner will be looking for medical records that establish your physical abilities.

Since most treating doctors have not been trained to write medical reports outlining a patient’s physical abilities, it is not uncommon for the disability examiner to consult with a staff doctor in the disability unit. The staff doctor will look at your medical records and, using their medical crystal ball, determine what you are physically capable of doing-it is called “determining your residual functional capacity”. This is Social Security language for how much can you lift, how long can you stand or sit, whether you can bend at the waist etc.

Why is that important? As explained in the postings about the 5 hurdles, once your limitations are determined, the disability examiner is going to ask whether or not you can go back to the lightest job you did for the 15 years before you became disabled. If you cannot do your “past relevant work”, disability examiner will ask, at Hurdle 5, whether you perform some other work in the mythical national economy.

If the disability examiner says you can’t perform some other type of work, you win.

However, 80% of the time, the disability examiner says you can do some other type of work and denies your claim.

And, when you file your Request for Reconsideration, your claim goes back to the same State Agency that denied you in the first place. While your case goes to another claims examiner, most cases are denied again.

If is only after you get denied twice (almost always), that you can file for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge… who is NOT bound by the earlier denials and who is NOT employed by the State Disability Agency.

You can improve your chances of approval by properly filing out the forms that are sent to you by explaining the limitations in your functioning from the time you get up till the time you go to bed. Paint a picture that the disability examiner and staff physician can see in their mind’s eye. Filling out these forms is difficult and you would benefit from consulting skilled attorneys Cavey & Barret.

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