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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
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SSDI: Determination Process: How To Follow Up


When your file moves to the state agency generally known as Disability Determination Service (DDS) for determination about whether you are "disabled" it is advisable to continue to follow up with the DDS examiner to find out what is happening with your file and what the determination schedule is.

  • You can follow up by creating an account  on the Social Security website: Timetable For Following Up With Social Security and DDS provides ideas to consider about following up.
  • Help gather any information that is missing. It will not only help speed a determination about your claim, it will also give you an opportunity to have more control about what is submitted to Social Security.
  • If you are asked to take a medical exam, we suggest you ask that your own doctor conduct it.
  • If the process is moving much too slowly:
    • You can call the Social Security person in your Congressperson's office for help. That person is paid to assist you.
    • Since there is the risk of offending the examiner, this avenue should be a last resort.

If medical information is missing: Help gather missing medical information.

  • Let your health care provider(s) know the request is coming.
  • Give your health care provider(s) a guide about what should be included. The requirements for SSDI are different from other disability claims. See Physician Statement and What Your Doctor Should Include In A Report.
  • Do whatever you can to help get the answers as fast as possible.
  • Ask your provider if you can review a draft of the report before it is submitted (to be sure it is consistent with what you already told Social Security.)

If you are asked to complete additional forms

If DDS believes it needs more information to determine whether a person is disabled, it requests completion of additional forms (known as "Supplemental Questionnaires"). These questionnaires ask about the claimant's health condition. If you receive such a request:

  • Complete it promptly.
  • The forms state they are "optional," but that means they're optional for Social Security - not for you.
  • Always make sure the answers agree with the information you've already provided to Social Security. If they don't, explain why. Don't wait for the representative to call with questions.

If You Are Asked To Take A Medical Exam

While trying to determine if you are "disabled," DDS may ask you to take a medical exam -- which they refer to as a "Consultative Examination"

  • If DDS asks, you have to take the exam. However, you do not have to use a doctor recommended by Social Security.
  • You can insist on an exam by your own doctor. It is better to be examined by your own doctor because s/he is more likely to be supportive of your case than a doctor you meet for a few minutes who is paid by Social Security. If you can avoid it, you do not want a negative medical opinion in your file that will provide an excuse to deny your claim.

For more information, see:

For An Overview of SSDI, click here.

To Learn More

More Information

SSDI:101 An Overview

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