Throughout history, men and women have lived in fear of illnesses and injuries that interfere with their ability to work. One serious accident or medical condition can change your world forever and, in some cases, can plunge a whole family into dire times.
Today, we have federal safety nets for those who experience debilitating conditions. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to you and your family according to what you’ve paid into the system over the years, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits based on financial need.
What happens if I get hurt or sick and can’t work?
If your injury or illness has robbed you of your livelihood, and you can no longer work, you can apply for these SSDI and SSI benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your application is then forwarded to Iowa’s Disabilities Determination Services (DDS) bureau for review.
The DDS follows very specific guidelines prescribed by Congress to investigate your case, document your claims, assess your condition, and make a recommendation about your degree of disability. This is not a subjective opinion, but a fair and standardized process. Your application is then returned to the SSA for a final decision.
What is a disability consultation, and do I need one?
The DDS starts by reviewing the medical records you provide from your own doctor. However, if there’s not enough information in your files to make a reasonable determination of disability, then the Social Security Administration asks for the unbiased review of an independent physician — this is called a disability consultation.
Not everyone who files a claim for SSDI or SSI is required to attend a disability consultation. Sometimes, the existing information provides comprehensive documentation and is sufficient for the evaluators to reach a decision and either grant or deny your claim.
If, however, the Social Security Administration or your employer requests for you to have a disability consultation, do not refuse, and do not skip your appointment. Either of these actions will render you ineligible for disability benefits.
Where do I go for a disability consultation?
In order to obtain a fair and unbiased medical report, you must see a physician who can give an independent assessment of your limitations — a snapshot of your condition. This physician will not treat you, but rather run diagnostic tests like X-rays, blood and urine analyses, or whatever other exams are relevant.
Your disability consultant is not an employee of the Social Security Administration, but he or she is a physician who has contracted to perform these exams on behalf of the SSA.
Here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dr. Stanley Mathew at American Rehabilitation Medicine offers independent, professional disability consultations. He performs noninvasive diagnostic tests and complies with all state and federal regulations to arrive at a rating regarding your limitations and level of disability.
Although Dr. Mathew is not the final decision-maker in your case, his assessment carries weight with the SSA and becomes part of your case file that ultimately determines whether or not you receive SSDI or SSI benefits.
If you’ve been injured or become ill on the job and need a disability consultation, you can trust Dr. Mathew to deliver a comprehensive and fair assessment of your condition.
To learn more or to schedule your disability consultation with Dr. Mathew, call our Cedar Rapids office at 319-369-7331, or request an appointment online today.