Social Security: Introducing Who Decides if You Deserve Disability Benefits -

Who Runs the Social Security Disability Program (SSDP)?

Social Security disability benefits are reserved for Americans who are “disabled,” as defined by the SSDP. However, you must meet the SSDP’s earnings requirements to qualify for disability benefits. Your employment history is also taken into consideration.

You’re probably wondering: Who’s in charge of making these sometimes arbitrary, life-altering decisions? What happens if they get it wrong? Do they truly care?

The truth is, many people from various departments within the government collaborate to help make the final decision on your disability claim.  Ultimately, the final decision often is made by an Administrative Law Judge. However, it’s not as if your disability claim goes straight to an Administrative Law Judge for a final decision.

The Life Cycle of a Social Security Disability Claim

  • Initial Stage

First, your disability claim must pass the Initial Stage, which involves a team of Disability Examiners reviewing the details of your application and medical records. If your claim gets denied at the Initial Stage, you can either accept the denial or submit an appeal for reconsideration.

  • Reconsideration Stage

At the Reconsideration level your claim is handled in the same manner as it was at the initial level. Your file is forwarded again to the team of Disability Examiners at which time they should obtain new and additional medical information, review your file, and make a new determination with respect to whether you meet the medical requirements to be found disabled. 

  • Hearing Stage

Claims that are denied at the Reconsideration stage move on to the Hearing Stage, where an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your Social Security file and conduct a hearing in the presence of your Social Security Disability Attorney. 

  • Notice of Decision

If the Administrative Law Judge approves your claim, a Notice of Decision will be sent to you containing the details of his or her findings. If the ALJ denies your application at the Hearing phase, you can appeal to the Appeals Council.  Claims that are denied at the Appeals Council can be appealed to the Federal District Court.  

Contact Silver & Silver Today for Help Filing Your Claim

Our Social Security attorneys in Philadelphia are dedicated to supporting good people who can no longer earn sufficient income due to a medical condition. The Silver & Silver legal team has over 40 years of experience helping Social Security Disability claimants obtain their due benefits. We pledge to spare no detail when reviewing your case, and our goal is to secure the disability benefits you rightfully deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation!