After filing your claim, Social Security contracts out the medical decision-making process to the Office of Disability Determination in your state. Case workers, while employed by the individual states, follow the guidelines and procedures set out by the Federal Social Security Law and Regulations. These guidelines, as followed by the State Agency, help the caseworkers analyze the medical and vocational evidence they review.
During this stage, which is called the Initial Determination, it typically takes four to six months for the State Agency to make its decision. Because they make efforts to contact the treating sources you have mentioned in your application, a complete application listing all the doctors who have treated all of your conditions is vital.
This is where Hermann Law Group’s help is critical. One of the biggest problems we see is how poorly many cases are developed at the Initial Determination level. State Agency examiners handle large volumes of claims and cannot give cases individual attention. Thus, if your doctors do not submit their reports and records on time, the Social Security Administration may make a decision with little or no evidence from your doctors. At Hermann Law Group, we make sure that your application is complete and that all relevant medical evidence is included in your file. If a treating physician does not supply a complete report, we follow up until we are confident that your file contains all of the evidence required to prove your disability.
The State Agency usually asks claimants to complete a Daily Activity Questionnaire. Although it is a long form that scares many people, we advise our clients to keep the answers short and then send the form to us to review and submit. Sometimes Social Security may call claimants with specific questions about their medical conditions or work history. We advise our clients to tell Social Security or the State Agency that our permission is needed before answering any questions
By involving us in your claim from the very beginning, we can make sure that your application is as complete as possible, and greatly increase your chances of success at the Initial Determination, without any appeals necessary.
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