If you have applied for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA), then there is a good chance that you will need to go for an evaluation at Disability Determination Services (DDS). This evaluation is an essential part of obtaining Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, there are five things you should know before you go for your DDS evaluation:
- A doctor’s note is not a substitute for a DDS evaluation
- It would be nice if you could get out of your DDS evaluation by simply getting a note from your doctor. Unfortunately, the SSA is strict about who can provide an acceptable evaluation for the purposes of getting SSDI or SSI benefits. This is because of fears that people’s private physicians will play favorites with their patients, giving them a more favorable evaluation than a more impartial observer would.
- You should have information available about your medical history
- You cannot go to a DDS appointment unprepared, or else you may risk having your application denied. This means having information ready about your medical history, including conditions you are currently suffering from, procedures you have had in the past, and medication you are currently taking. This will help your evaluator get a better picture of the issues you face due to your disability.
- You should already have sought treatment for your condition
- One important component of getting disability benefits through the SSA is that they will not give benefits for someone who has either not sought medical attention, or who has failed to follow medical advice. This is because SSDI and SSI benefits are intended for people who cannot work or perform daily tasks, even with medical treatment. If you cannot show that you have been getting treated for your disability, that could be grounds for denying you benefits.
- You will be evaluated based on your symptoms
- DDS uses something known as the Green Book to evaluate people and determine what conditions they may have. The Green Book is meant to reflect the current scientific consensus for all known medical conditions, including all chronic physical and psychological disorders. If your condition matches one of these known conditions, it makes your chances of getting benefits much more likely.
- Even if your symptoms are atypical, you may still receive benefits
- Not everyone’s symptoms necessarily match the current scientific understanding of diseases. That does not mean you cannot access benefits, though. The primary criteria DDS looks for is how much your disability impairs you. In addition, if you are denied benefits by a DDS evaluator, you may still have options for seeking your benefits. If that happens to you, you should speak to a lawyer knowledgeable in matters related to Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.