Most people who apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will be contacted by a disability examiner at some point after filing their initial application, although they won’t necessarily receive a phone call.
Disability examiners decide SSD and SSI cases for the state disability determination services (DDS) agency, and will most likely require additional information other than that provided on the application before rendering a decision on a case.
Sometimes a disability examiner will call or write for information that applicants do not include in their medical and work histories, such as correct contact information for treating physicians, or employers, or the dates of medical treatment or employment.
In addition, applicants often receive a phone call, or a questionnaire in the mail, from a disability examiner to determine their residual functional capacity (RFC). Residual functional capacity includes all work activities, such as sitting or standing for periods of time, lifting, or the ability to concentrate or perform other mental tasks; as well as routine daily activities, such as shopping, driving, climbing stairs, house cleaning or yard work, etc., that the applicant can or cannot perform.
In most instances, a third party Activities of Daily Living questionnaire will also be needed before a disability examiner can approve a claim. Third party questionnaires are sent to someone chosen by the disability applicant to get an outside observer’s opinion on the applicant’s medical condition, and how it has changed his or her ability to function at work or at home.
For those who have not received “recent” medical treatment for their condition, a disability examiner will usually call to schedule a consultative exam (CE), frequently referred to as a Social Security medical exam. Social Security defines “recent” as within the past three months, although an examiner can schedule a CE any time he or she feels more information is needed to determine if the applicant is currently disabled.
Disability applicants should be sure that their correct address and phone number is available to the social security disability examiner, and inform the local social security office immediately if that information changes.
Failing to keep an open line of communication with the disability examiner deciding your claim could result in a denial based not on your medical condition but on the examiner’s inability to get the information needed to make a decision.