Social Security Legal
(702) 382-2222  
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Listing of Impairments

The Disability Determination Process

Most Social Security Disability claims are initially processed through a network of local Social Security field offices and State agencies (usually called disability determination services, or DDSs). Subsequent appeals of unfavorable Social Security Disability or SSI determinations may be decided in the DDSs or by administrative law judges in The Social Security Administration (SSA)'s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR).

Social Security Field Offices

SSA representatives in the field offices usually obtain applications for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, either in person, by telephone, or by mail. The application and related forms ask for a description of the claimant's impairment(s), names, addresses, and telephone numbers of treatment sources, and other information that relates to the alleged disability. The "claimant" is the person who is requesting Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) SSI benefits.

The field office is responsible for verifying nonmedical eligibility requirements, which may include age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information. The field office sends the case to a DDS for evaluation of disability.

State Disability Determination Services

The DDSs are State agencies responsible for developing medical evidence and rendering the initial determination on whether the claimant is or is not disabled or blind under the Social Security Disability laws.

Usually, the DDS tries to obtain evidence from the claimant's own medical sources first. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultative examination (CE) in order to obtain the additional information needed.After completing its initial development, the DDS makes the determination whether someone qualifies for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income. If the claimant is found not disabled, the file is retained in the field office in case the claimant decides to appeal the determination.

If the claimant files an appeal of an initial unfavorable determination, the appeal is usually handled much the same as the initial claim for Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income.

Office of Disability Adjudication and Review

Claimants dissatisfied with the first appeal of a Social
Security Disability determination may file subsequent appeals. The second appeal is processed by a Hearing Office within SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. An administrative law judge makes the second appeal decision, usually after conducting a hearing and receiving any additional evidence from the claimant's medical sources or other sources.

Medical development by the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review is frequently conducted through the DDS. However, hearing offices may also contact medical sources directly. In rare circumstances, an Administrative Law Judge may issue a subpoena requiring production of evidence or testimony at a hearing.

1645 Village Center Circle
Las Vegas, NV 89134
(702) 382-2222

The Social Security Administration maintains a Listing of Impairments for common health problems.  To see if your impairment is listed, check the government website at
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