How Social Security Handles Non Medical Review for SSI and SSDI

May 26, 2023
David Sunnyside

When someone applies for disability, a Social Security representative reviews the application for non-medical eligibility. If the applicant appears to meet these requirements, the claim is transferred to Disability Determination Services (DDS) where a team assesses the medical evidence and work history. This team consists of a disability analyst and a reviewing medical consultant. For SSI (the low-income, needs-based program) applicants, the team also reviews household income, assets and resources to determine whether the person is over the limit. SSI is a need-based program, and the limits are very low ($2,000 per person and $3,000 for couples).

If the claims examiner at DDS finds that an individual can engage in substantial gainful activity based on the medical evaluation alone, the case is terminated at step 2 of sequential evaluation. This step involves severe cases only, and the reviewing medical consultant decides whether the impairment(s) "meet or equal" the standards in the Listings of Mental Impairments.

SSA reviews the non-medical criteria of every SSDI and SSI recipient on a scheduled basis, or on an unscheduled basis if the beneficiary reports, or SSA discovers, certain changes in circumstances. These reviews are known as continuing disability review (CDR). SSA also performs unscheduled CDRs on a random basis, or when a claimant reports certain changes in their situation that could affect their ongoing SSI payment amount. If a claimant's SSI payments are terminated at the beginning of the CDR, they can file an appeal.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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