Social Security is more than a safety net for aging Americans. The fund can also be the source of necessary financial help if someone is disabled or otherwise unable to work. The benefits can help people keep their homes and livelihoods, but the process of getting them can be long and confusing. Fortunately, the beginning of the process is relatively simple, and there are sources of help when applicants run into delays or problems.
Where do most applications for Social Security benefits begin?
Claims generally start with an online filing or an in-person application. Information is forwarded to Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and authorized state agencies called disability determination services (DDS).
What does a field office and a DDS do with a claim?
The field office is responsible for verifying an applicant’s ability to receive requirement that doesn’t involve medical evidence. The DDS reviews medical information and makes a determination on a disability existing to the extent that benefits may be paid.
Who provides medical evidence to a DDS?
Sources referred by an applicant, like the person’s doctor or treating specialist, will most likely be the first source of evidence of a disability. An independent source may be required if the original evidence is confusing or not sufficient to make a determination.
What do I do if a disability claim has been denied?
An attorney can help review a claim before or after it is submitted to the SSA. Legal representation can assist with making, confirming and forwarding claims for necessary benefits.