It’s a fact; your claim for disability is likely to get turned down at the initial level.  After receiving a denial, many people can get upset and frustrated with the process and want to know what went into making this decision.  At Cuddigan Law, we’ve found that by explaining what happens at the initial level, it can help you understand the process, and help keep you from getting discouraged if your initial claim is denied.

After you fill out your initial application, your local Social Security office will verify the non-medial requirements—such as your age, employment, marital status, income, and work history.  If you meet all of the non-medical requirements, your claim will be sent to Disability Determination Services or DDS to see if you qualify medically for disability. 

DDS is responsible for developing the medical evidence of your case.  They will order and review your medical records.  This is why it is important to include all your medical providers when filling out the initial application. 

They will likely send you some forms in the mail asking about your daily activities, and your impairment.  Make sure you fill out these forms completely and honestly.

They might send you to see a doctor.  Be sure to keep this appointment. 

They will also have what are called non-examining physicians evaluate your case.  These are doctors who have never treated you.  They will read through your medical records and form an opinion about your limitations. 

After DDS forms an opinion about your limitations, they will consider other factors such as your age, education, and past work experience to determine whether or not you are disabled.  Keep in mind, an initial determination is only designed to help make the process run a little more efficiently by reducing the number of claims that need to go to a hearing.  It is not designed to be a final decision, and you should not consider it a reflection about the strength of your case.  Most importantly, remember that a denial at the initial level does not mean you should give up. 

For a free evaluation of your case, call us.  At Cuddigan Law you have a dedicated team of professionals in your corner who understand the system and who will fight for your rights.  



Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska