Who decides if I am disabled?

After an individual files a Social Security Disability claim, the case is sent to a disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency in your state. This individual, working with a doctor, makes the initial decision on the claim. If the claim is denied and the individual requests Reconsideration, the case is then sent to another disability examiner at the Disability Determination agency, where it goes through much the same process. If a claim is denied at Reconsideration, the claimant may then request a hearing. At this point, the case is sent to an Administrative Law Judge who works for Social Security. The Administrative Law Judge makes an independent decision upon the claim. This is the only level at which the claimant and the decision maker get to see each other.