TheElder & Disability Law Firm, APC
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The decision makers who deal with SSDI benefits applications

When Californians apply for Social Security disability benefits, they may wonder who is responsible for the outcome. After the necessary documents are filed, a claims representative from the Social Security Administration completes the application by obtaining medical information, dates of treatment and other details from the applicant. The representative will also take information about the work the applicant performed over the last 15 years, including the employers, titles and types of jobs a person had during that time.

Once the Social Security Disability Insurance folder is completed, the state agency that makes determinations will take charge of the case. A disability examiner will be assigned to the application; this person evaluates medical records and work histories against Social Security's rules for gauging disability and eligibility for benefits. The examiner will acquire the applicant's medical records from the physicians, hospitals and clinics provided by the applicant. Medical professionals who work with the disability agency may also be engaged to assess the records provided. On this basis, the disability examiner will make a decision about whether or not to approve an applicant.

Many applicants' claims are denied at this initial level, but they can appeal for a reconsideration of the case. The first appeal is referred to as a reconsideration appeal, and another disability examiner at the same agency will review the file. If the claim is still denied, an applicant can seek a disability hearing before an administrative law judge.

Many people whose claims for benefits were denied at earlier stages are successful at a disability hearing. The likelihood of approval goes up significantly at this type of hearing, especially if an applicant is represented by a disability lawyer. An attorney can gather evidence and represent a client in presenting information that effectively makes the case for the necessity of disability benefits.

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