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Ledgerwood Law Group

Chico SSDI Attorney Explains Role of the Disability Examiner

It can take upwards of seven months for the Social Security Administration to make a determination on your SSI or SSDI benefits claim. For most of the processing period, your claim will be in California’s Disability Determination Services Division (DDSD), a system of offices in the state designated to make decisions on Social Security disability benefits applications.

DDSD and the Disability Examiner

When your claim arrives at DDSD, it will be assigned to a Disability Examiner. Though in most cases, the examiner is required to consult with a physician, the function this administrative professional serves is pivotal to the outcome of your claim.

The examiner carefully reviews your case, preparing it for evaluation. He or she handles or facilitates several administrative duties, including:

  • Maintaining contact with you while your file is pending.
  • Requesting and receiving all pertinent medical records.
  • Following up on any omitted information from you, your attorney, or your doctor.
  • Setting up any necessary consultative examinations for incomplete or out-of-date medical records and adding results to your file.
  • Obtaining relevant employment and educational records.

Any applicant for disability benefits in California should know that the information gathering part of the claims process takes the longest. Requesting and receiving medical records can take several tries and many months.

When all the necessary information has been gathered, the examiner will meet with an on-staff medical consultant. Because the examiner is not a medical professional, they are not allowed to determine medical eligibility without a physician’s review.

With the consulting physician’s assistance, the examiner writes a disability determination. This detailed summation of your file:

  • Defines your health condition in language easily understood by someone who is not a medical professional.
  • Explains if this condition should be considered a disability.
  • Reviews the way your health condition could limit your ability to perform the basic tasks necessary to maintain employment.

If you are found eligible for disability benefits, Social Security calculates the benefits amount and any applicable backpay to begin paying you benefits. If your claim is denied, your file will be returned to your regional office and held in the event of an appeal.

If you need help understanding the SSDI claims appeal process, review your case with a North Valley disability lawyer. Contact the Ledgerwood Law Group through our online form, or call toll-free: 888-761-7383.


Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group