Sunday, March 21, 2010



Social Security Disability Rules, Examiners, and Rulings

Someone recently posted a link to SSR 99-2p: POLICY INTERPRETATION RULING TITLES II AND XVI: EVALUATING CASES INVOLVING CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME (CFS).

The point of this post is not to discuss this ruling, or fibromyalgia, or chronic fatigue, but simply to point out something that disability applicants are often mistaken about, something they would honestly not be aware of.

Rulings mean little to nothing for much of the social security disability and SSI disability evaluation process. How can this be, you may wonder. Here's how.

1. An application for disability is taken at a social security field office. The claim is not worked on there in terms of the medical evaluation. It is transferred to a disability determination services agency where it is assigned to a disability examiner. The examiner will gather medical records and will evaluate them in conjunction with the claimant's work history. However...

2. The disability examiner will not reference or consider any social security rulings. They are not part of the process of an examiner's daily work and this is true for examiners who work on initial claims, examiners who work on reconsideration appeals, and examiners who work on continuing disability reviews.

3. Disability hearings are another matter, of course. But initial claims, reconsiderations, and CDRs, together, constitute a big chunk of the system. And examiners, not representatives and judges, are the parties involved. And the rulings do not even enter into their stream of consciousness.

I will say it again: the social security disability, SSI system should be federalized so that it may be standardized and reflect a logical and consistent system of rules. The truth is, how things are done at hearings is how they should be done at the first two steps of the system. BUT...if that was the case, there wouldn't be a need for nearly as many hearings.


Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog




Other Posts

Are there disability benefits for children?
Reconsideration Appeal - what makes it different from the Disability Application
Social Security Disability Requirements
How can I get Social Security Disability if I Haven't Worked for a Long Time?
Social Security Disability SSI - How long does it take to get a hearing for disability ?
Doctors and Social Security Disability
SSI Claim for Disability Benefits
The Criteria for Social Security Disability and SSI
What if you do not have enough work credits to be covered for Social Security disability?
How to get disability
How do I Apply for Disability Benefits - Notes on Applying for Disability