How Social Security Disability Claims are Processed

Social Security disability claims are first processed through a network of local Social Security Administration field offices and State agencies. Applications for disability benefits can be delivered to Social Security representative in the field offices in person, by telephone, by mail, or by filing online.

The Application

The application and related forms ask for a description of the claimant’s impairments, treatment sources, and other information related to the disability.


Non-medical eligibility requirements like age, employment, marital status, or Social Security information are verified by the field office. Following this verification, the case is then sent to Disability Determination Services for evaluation of disability. The DDS are fully funded by the federal government. They are state agencies responsible for developing medical evidence and making the initial determination on whether or not a claimant is disabled or blind under the law.

Obtaining Evidence

The DDS usually tries to obtain evidence from the claimant’s own medical sources first. Should that information be unavailable or insufficient, a consultative examination will be scheduled to obtain the additional information needed. The preferred source for the consultative examination is the claimant’s treating source, or regular doctor. However, an independent source may be used.

What Happens Next?

If the claimant is found disabled, the case is returned to the field office for proper action. Should the claim be denied, the claimant can file an appeal.

Speak with an Indianapolis Social Security Lawyer

If your Social Security Disability claim has been wrongfully denied, you have the right to appeal this action. Contact the Indianapolis Social Security lawyers of the Hankey Law Office at 800.520.3633 today.