Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Denied for Disability - DDS Examiner versus DDS Supervisor

A prior post on this blog was titled "Is it the Disability Examiner’s Fault That I Got Denied for Disability?". Now, I reference this because I just had a conversation with my spouse who, like me, is a former disability examiner. However, unlike me, she is a current field office claims claims rep at a social security office (I myself am also a former medicaid caseworker).

Because of my wife's background, I consider her well-qualified qualified in her opinions. And here's one of them, uttered just five minutes ago. She said, "I don't blame disability examiners for the high numbers of denials. I blame the case consultants, unit supervisors, and unit medical consultants at disability determination services.

She doesn't hold disability examiners responsible with regard to how many disability claims get denied. And, to be honest, I probably don't either. I think the problems are more institutional and have everything to do with spineless DDS supervisors and upper management who are more concerned with agency statistics than with making good decisions on cases. And that's basically what my wife said, but in a different way. She said "Think about it. New examiners don't really care about agency stats. Initially, before they get beat down by management, all they're trying to do is make good decisions on cases. It's those in management that account for high denial rates".

All of which is true. And, in fact, it doesn't take long for a unit supervisor to "corral" a disability examiner whose decisions lean too often toward approvals.

Of course, issues of "institutional bias" and why more claims are denied at the state agency level versus the social security hearing level...really aren't terribly relevant to the individual who has decided to apply for disability and has been denied.

What do you do if you file for disability and get denied?

1. File an appeal

2. Do it quickly. You get 60 days in which to do this,but try not to let more than a day or two go by before making your request for an appeal.

3. If you are represented by a disability lawyer or a disability representative at the time you are denied, notify your rep as soon as you receive your notice of denial. Your rep should receive a copy of the notice stating you have been denied, but this doesn't always happen.

4. If you are not represented when you learn you have been denied, consider finding representation.

Why? Because if your claim is denied at the application level, then statistically it will stand a high chance of being denied at the reconsideration level (the first appeal level)...thus making it necessary for you to request a hearing before an administrative law judge where you really should have representation to maximize your chances of winning benefits.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Other Posts

How will a Social Security Doctor determine my illness better than my own doctors?
Can a Disability Lawyer Guarantee Winning your Case?
Crohn's Disease Social Security Disability SSI - Applying for Disability
Disability Benefits for Mental Illness (bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression)
Filing for Disability - SSD application tips
Filing for Disability - Tips for Filing a Disability Appeal
Getting seen by a Social Security Doctor
Doctor appointment for Social Security Disability


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