Once your Social Security disability is on file, it is only natural to wonder if the person assigned to your claim is going to give it an honest evaluation. Considering all that goes into filing for Social Security disability and the circumstances that lead to such an application, it would be nice if Social Security treats your application properly.
So, will they?
The Odds Are Long Against You
The odds are stacked against you from the moment you turn in your Social Security disability application. Your case will be assigned to a worker a the Disability Determination Service (DDS). That person is supposed to gather your medical records and then seek review of them by the appropriate medical provider. Sounds straightforward, but there are many ways for the process to go wrong.
You Are Not Credible
Consider that DDS never considers anyone more than partially credible. I have never once seen DDS declare an applicant wholly credible. This means that from the outset, the DDS worker is saying she has serious reasons to doubt you are telling the truth. And what are those serious reasons to consider you a liar? DDS almost always cites the exact same reason: "Claimant's statements regarding the severity & limitations caused by alleged impairments are not fully substantiated by the objective medical evidence. " Does that strike you as an evaluation or a conclusion? How is it that this is true of virtually every person who applies for Social Security disability.
Why Not Use Your Own Doctor?
DDS is supposed to have a doctor perform an examination of you to assess your limitations. If possible, DDS will have your own doctor do this exam. But do they ever? No. Instead, DDS states that no treating doctor is available to conduct the examination. Is that true or is it the case that DDS wants to send you to a doctor of their choosing instead?
Set Up To Say No
There are other examples of how DDS is working against you from the beginning. The bigger issue is that DDS is apparently set up to deny cases. Their thinking seems to be that a denial is prudent because the applicant can always appeal. DDS can take comfort in knowing that if their denials were incorrect, a Social Security judge can fix the problem later. If you are DDS worker, would you risk approving people or just keep the wheels turning? The answer seems to be the latter most of the time.
A Denial Is Virtually Certain
Do not get your hopes up when you apply for Social Security disability. Be prepared for a denial. When it comes, call me or another local attorney at once. The denial says almost nothing about the merits of your case. It is just a bump in the road to be overcome on your way to approval.
What was your experience with DDS like? Does anyone get approved the first time around? Let me know.