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How Am I Evaluated for SSD Benefits?

In order to receive Social Security Disability benefits, you must be able to establish that you have a medical impairment that prevents you from working. The Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts a thorough review of your medical history and may request that you undergo additional testing to determine if you meet the requirements for obtaining disability benefits.

The Harrisburg Social Security Disability attorneys at Schmidt Kramer are knowledgeable about all aspects of Social Security benefits. We will work diligently to establish your claim and assist with every stage of the appeals process. We can discuss your claim during a free, no-obligation case review.

Disability Determination Services

Disability Determination Services (DDS) initially processes most claims for the Social Security Disability program. Representatives of the DDS are responsible for developing medical evidence for the claim.

The first step is for DDS to gather information from the claimant’s existing medical records. However, if this is not enough information to make an initial decision about eligibility for disability benefits, DDS arranges for a consultative examination.

After the DDS acquires enough information, it is responsible for making a determination as to the claimant’s approval or denial of benefits. Any future appeals in the process are handled by different entities.

There are a few ways to check the status of your claim while you are waiting for a decision to be made.

Consultative Exams

If the medical evidence that you provide through your own medical sources is not sufficient for DDS to determine if you are disabled, the DDS may schedule a consultative exam.

Your treating doctor is the preferred source for this special type of exam, but DDS is free to schedule this exam with an independent healthcare professional in many situations. If your treating physician does not perform the consultative exam, an independent physician who contracts to perform such services for the SSA conducts it.

A consultative exam is performed to gather additional information about a claimant’s current medical condition. These exams may be physical or psychological in nature. They may also include other aspects, such as:

  • Blood work
  • Eye exams
  • X-rays

Consultative Exam Reports

After the consulting doctor performs the consultative exam, he or she prepares a thorough report for the SSA. This written report details information about the exam, findings of the exam and the results of any tests. The report includes information about your symptoms, your medical history and how you have responded to treatment.

The doctor also provides a diagnosis of your condition and your prognosis. The report may contain the doctor’s opinions about how your impairments limit you, such as providing estimates of how long you can stand, sit or walk before you will need a break. He or she may also give an opinion about how many pounds you can lift.

The report may also contain the doctor’s opinions about your explanation of your symptoms, your reports of pain and the credibility of your explanation.

The doctor’s report may contain information before the technical exam officially starts, such as whether you showed any signs of distress when walking into the building or whether you had difficulty getting in or out of your vehicle.

Contact an Experienced Social Security Disability Attorney

Many Social Security Disability claims are initially denied when claimants do not have the support of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. We can explain your rights through each stage of the disability claims process, including your right to have your treating physician review the consultative exam report and to refute it. We can also analyze such reports to see if the consultative exam doctor followed the strict guidelines necessary for these procedures.

Contact Schmidt Kramer to learn about how we can help you through the appeals process if your claim is denied. Our in-depth knowledge of the Social Security Disability claims process can help you pursue the benefits you deserve. We work on a contingency fee basis and only get paid if you are approved for benefits.

Call us at (717) 888-8888 to get started today.