What is a Disability Examiner?

July 5, 2022


Suppose you wish to claim disability benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs in Cincinnati, Ohio. In that case, you’ll need to meet with a disability examiner, an officer that specializes in reviewing disability claims for approval or dismissal.

At Kapor Davis Law, we work with you to navigate the social security disability application process and help you obtain approval and benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). So if you’re looking for a disability attorney near me, look no further.

What Happens at a Cincinnati, OH Social Security Administration Field Office?

The first step in getting disability benefits is sending your application to an SSA office near you. You must complete the application correctly to qualify for benefits. The disability examiner in the SSA office checks if you meet the basic requirements for SSDI and SSI.

For SSDI, you must have paid income tax contributions to the Social Security system for a sufficient time and acquired adequate credits depending on your age. In addition, to qualify for SSI, you must be of advanced age or have limited resources because of your disability.

What Is a Social Security Disability Examiner?

A social security disability examiner determines you or your loved one’s medical eligibility for disability benefits under SSDI and SSI programs. Usually, disability examiners work under the SSA or state agencies are known as Disability Determination Services (DDS). An agency will have multiple disability examination officers to review disability claims.

A disability examiner works with a medical consultant to confirm your eligibility for disability benefits. The examiner gathers your medical records and consults any medical doctors you have visited in the past three months. To qualify for disability benefits, you must have a medical impairment that lasts at least one year or results in death and limits your capacity to engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA).

However, suppose you have not visited a doctor or medical treatment sources within the past three months of your application or haven’t provided sufficient information. In that case, the disability examiner recommends a consultative examination by a doctor paid by Social Security. After writing a medical decision report, the disability examiner asks your doctor to review and sign it.

To approve your application, a disability examiner needs:

  • Medical consultation notes, e.g., doctor visits, x-rays, and diagnostics
  • Medical treatment notes, e.g., prescription medication or rehabilitative care
  • Medical history to determine the onset of your disability
  • Your work history
  • Your educational background

Generally, a disability examiner cannot approve your claim without the input of a medical expert or a medical exam. However, an examiner may approve a claim without medical determinations for Quick Disability Determinations (QDD). In QDDs, the disability examiner uses technology to identify severe medical conditions that automatically qualify for disability benefits to fast-track the process and reduce workload.

How Does a Disability Examiner Approve or Revoke Disability Claims?

To approve your application, the disability examiner checks if your disability meets the conditions listed under Social Security’s listing of impairments, popularly known as the “Blue Book.” However, you can still qualify for disability benefits even if your medical impairment isn’t listed in the Blue Book.

In such a case, the disability examiner checks your residual functional capacity (RFC) to see if you can perform your previous job and at what level. An RFC checks if you can perform sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work. If not, the examiner performs a medical-vocational analysis to determine which job you can be trained to do, as per your limitations.

The limitations may be exertional (physical impairment), such as walking, sitting, standing, or lifting objects. Your limitations may also be non-exertional (mental impairments), such as losing your ability to see, hear, smell, focus, remember, or interact with people. The functional limitations should restrict your ability to engage in a substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Usually, a disability examiner should maintain contact with you regarding your application. They will communicate if they need extra evidence for medical, work, or educational history. However, the disability benefits claims process is lengthy, often taking six to nine months.

What Happens When a Disability Examiner Denies Your Claim?

Unfortunately, your initial application for SSDI or SSI benefits may be denied. As such, claimants must file an appeal to qualify for benefits. You must file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial letter. You should file the appeal under a request for reconsideration of the disability application.

A disability examiner may deny your claim based on a technical denial. This type of revocation applies when you apply for SSI benefits, but your monthly earnings exceed the substantial gainful activity (SGA) monetary limitations. The SGA amount is subject to fluctuations. Fortunately, your attorney can help you determine if your monthly earnings exceed the limit.

While a majority of claims may not qualify under the Blue Book, they may qualify under a medical-vocational allowance. The disability examiner must review your work and medical history in this method, going back up to 15 years, to determine the effect of your disability on your function and income.

A disability attorney helps you file for reconsideration. If you receive a denial letter, be sure to contact your representative so that you can file an appeal on time. However, if your local social security office still denies your application after the appeal, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge.

In the disability hearing, the judge reviews your medical records to determine if your condition qualifies as a disability or if it limits your function sufficiently to qualify you for disability benefits. Social security judges apply the same rules disability examiners use to make a ruling. In addition, the judge may request a medical officer to appear in the hearing and provide their testimony on the case.

Find a Disability Attorney Near Me

Our knowledgeable social security disability attorneys at Kapor Davis Law help you determine if you qualify for disability benefits and, if so, which ones. Our disability lawyers also work closely with you to collect medical, education, and work history to ensure all your records are ready for the lengthy and complicated disability claim process.

What’s more, if a disability examiner denies your claim, working with an experienced disability benefits attorney increases the likelihood of approval in subsequent applications.

Are you looking for a disability attorney near me? Contact us today for a free consultation in Cincinnati, OH.

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