Are you unable to work due to a disability? If so, you may qualify for monthly cash benefits from the Social Security Administration. After you apply, a disability examiner will evaluate your application and decide whether you are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). A disability examiner in your local Social Security Administration field office will evaluate your claim.
At Roeschke Law, LLC Las Vegas, we have helped many Las Vegas residents obtain the Social Security benefits they deserve. We understand that navigating the disability benefits claim process is complicated, and we focus our practice on helping disabled individuals navigate the process. Our experienced disability lawyers understand the importance of the claims examiner in the disability claims process. We will help you gather all of the information you need to submit with your application, so you have the greatest likelihood of success. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation with one of our disability attorneys.
The Social Security Disability Examiner Evaluates Your Claim
Social Security disability examiners make the first decision on an applicant’s medical eligibility for SSDI or SSI benefits. There are hundreds of disability examiners in New Mexico who determine whether applicants are considered disabled under federal law. Examiners should have an in-depth understanding of disability-related regulation so they can apply that regulation fairly when making decisions. Disability examiners should stay in contact with you and communicate throughout the process of evaluating your claim.
Gathering Your Medical Evidence
In the first step of the evaluation process, a disability examiner will gather all of your medical records. He or she will review them and consider any additional information you, your doctor, or your lawyer provides. Claims examiners prefer to review documents from your physician, but they will obtain an evaluation from an independent source in some cases. A claims examiner may schedule you for a consultative examination, especially in the following circumstances:
- The medical records are unavailable
- The medical records are insufficient to evaluate the claim adequately, or
- You haven’t seen any doctors recently (typically within the past three months)
Adding Your Vocational Information
After gathering your medical information, the disability examiner will collect your vocational information. Specifically, your examiner with gather the following documents:
- Your medical treatment records and notes
- Opinions related to your residual functional capacity from your medical providers
- The results of your consultative examination
- Your relevant past work history from the past 15 years
- Your educational background
Making a Determination About Your Disability Claim
Once the claims examiner has gathered all of the relevant medical and work-related documentation, he or she will make a disability determination. A two-person team makes disability determinations. One person is a medical or psychological consultant, and the other person is a disability examiner. When the team decides that they need more evidence, they will re-contact one of your medical sources and ask him or her for supplemental information. The team may decide that you are a vocational rehabilitation candidate and refer you to a state vocational rehabilitation agency.
In most cases, the disability examiner will decide and right up his or her opinion for the state disability physician to review. The examiner needs to discuss whether your impairment meets the legal requirements for a disability. Should the examiner determine that your condition doesn’t meet these requirements, he or she will need to decide whether your residual functional capacity is enough to allow you to work in any other type of job. Typically, a medical consultant calls the unit physician to help complete the Residual Functional Capacity evaluation, but not always.
The Disability Examiner’s Role in a QDD Case
The claims Examiner should consult with the unit physician regarding the severity and nature of your medical impairment and ask what type of medical evidence may be required to decide your claim. In fact, claims examiners cannot decide on your medical eligibility without discussing your case with a doctor unless your claim is a quick disability determination case (QDD). QDD cases have straightforward facts with obvious outcomes. In these cases, the claims examiner can approve or deny the case alone, without a physician’s review.
What Happens After the Disability Examiner Makes a Decision?
After the claims examiner makes a disability determination, he or she will return your case to the field office nearest you. The field office will take appropriate action depending on whether the claims examiner allowed or denied your case. When claims examiners find the applicant disabled, the Social Security Administration will complete any outstanding paperwork, determine your monthly benefit amount, and begin paying you benefits.
If the Social Security examiner determines that you aren’t disabled, the field office will retain your file and await your appeal. The first step in the appeals process is to request a reconsideration of your case. You must file a notice of reconsideration within 60 days of receiving the letter stating that your claim has been denied. If your claim is denied upon reconsideration, you can appeal and request a disability hearing.
At the disability hearing, you will present your case to an administrative law judge with your lawyer’s help. The judge will ask you questions. Your attorney and the judge will also ask questions of a vocational expert and a medical expert. The Social Security lawyers at Roeschke Law, LLC Las Vegas have successfully represented many clients at all stages of the appeals process.
Contact Our Las Vegas Social Security Disability Attorneys
Applying for Social Security disability benefits can become an overwhelming process. Claims examiners deny the majority of first-time applications. One of the best decisions you can make is working with an experienced Las Vegas disability lawyer. At Roeschke Law, LLC Las Vegas, we have helped thousands of disabled Las Vegas residents navigate the benefits claim process. We will manage your claim so you can focus on receiving treatment for your medical condition or disability. Please contact our Las Vegas office today to schedule a free evaluation of your case.