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SSA claims may go to claims representative, disability examiner

When a West Virginia resident files a claim with the Social Security Administration for disability benefits, the application will be handled by a claims representative in most cases. The claims representative will typically gather information about the person's condition, work history and medical treatment history to build a file for determination. The claims representative does not, however, make a determination on the disability claim. Rather, the claim is usually submitted to the state disability determination service for that.

Each state has one or more disability agencies that are responsible for making decisions on Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income claims. These agencies are sometimes referred to as Disability Determination Services and sometimes referred to as the Bureau of Disability Determination. In either case, the agency is staffed with disability examiners who specialize in the interpretation of work histories and medical records. The examiners are also trained regarding the SSA's guidelines for determining disability.

A person may qualify for disability payments by meeting the requirements of an impairment listed on the Social Security Disability List. Many claimants, though, will not meet a listing exactly. Examiners are trained to determine eligibility for medical-vocational allowances. Medical-vocational allowances may be awarded in cases that pass satisfactorily through the evaluation process used by the disability examiner. All disability examiners use the same five-step evaluation.

Individuals in West Virginia who are seeking benefits from the SSA might want to call an attorney to set up a meeting. An attorney might be able to help interested parties pursue Social Security benefits by gathering the necessary documentation and putting together a claim for submission to the claims representative and then the disability examiner. An attorney may be able to provide advice regarding the likely outcome of a particular Social Security Disability claim or communicate with the SSA and government officials for the client.

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Shawn Taylor, PLLC
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