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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Are Social Security's Doctors Fairly Evaluating Disability Claims?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Jan 09, 2019 | 0 Comments

A recent investigation by the Tennesseean newspaper has revealed the manner in which the doctors hired by Social Security to evaluate Social Security disability claims do their work. The results are not

Read All About It!

quite shocking, but they are disheartening.

Who These Doctors Are

By way of background, Social Security does the initial review of Social Security disability applications through agencies run by the States. These agencies are generally called Disability Determination Services (DDS.) As part of their consideration of Social Security disability applications, DDS will send medical records to doctors for review. These doctors do not meet, let alone examine, the Social Security disability applicants. These doctors conduct paper reviews and then make recommendations to DDS.

Less Work, More Money

Per the investigation, Social Security, via DDS, pays their examining doctors by the case. This creates an unwelcome incentive for these doctors to review cases as fast as they possibly can. One Social Security doctor in the article took only 12 minutes per case. Keep in mind that medical records can be thousands of pages long. 

A Couple Of Felonies? No License? No Worries

The Tennessean also learned that DDS is using some unscrupulous doctors to conduct reviews.  In

Who Are You Calling Unscrupulous?

the Volunteer State, two DDS doctors were convicted felons. Tennessee restricted another doctor's license such that he could not see patients.  Despite this, DDS continued to employ them.

Dr. Rubberstamp Will See You Now

When DDS sends a file to one of their doctors, they generally include a recommendation as to what they expect the doctor to report back. DDS will state why they think they should deny the claim and ask the doctor to confirm this. Given that some DDS doctors make up to a million dollars a year, are they likely to cross the people signing their checks?

The reporters also found that DDS rarely provides any meaningful oversight of their doctors' reports. In fact, Social Security examined only 2% of denials for quality control. 

Not News, But A Painful Confirmation

I have written about how just how little chance a Social Security disability applicant has of getting approved. This investigation by the Tennessean confirms just how bad it is.

Given what we know about how much the deck is stacked against Social Security disability applicants,

It Really Is Just Not Fair

it makes even more sense to hire a good, local attorney to assist you. 

You can read the entire report here.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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