The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to disabled people. When a former worker has a Social Security Administration-approved physical or mental ailment, he or she may apply for these disability benefits by completing and submitting a disability application.

SSA reviews the claimant’s application and makes a decision about the disabled worker’s eligibility to receive financial benefits. The disabled individual’s physician(s) take a limited role in preparing the SSA disability application. The doctor’s opinion about the claimant’s disability is not required. Medical records establish the nature and severity of the individual’s condition. Hiring a disability lawyer can help disabled people navigate the SSA disability claims process.

disabled people

Claimant’s Physician

In order to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the claimant must see a doctor on a regular basis to establish a medical record. The disabled person’s symptoms, procedures, testing, and prescribed medicines are part of his or her medical file.

The claimant may ask his or her treating doctor to write a letter to Social Security, but the letter and opinion contained are less important than information in the medical file. A disability lawyer should review the claimant’s medical file before it is submitted to SSA. An incomplete or otherwise inaccurate medical file can delay SSA’s decision to grant disability benefits.

SSA Disability Criteria

Social Security Administration compares the claimant’s medical issues to conditions that inhibit his or her ability to work. Again, SSA reviews the medical record and does not make its decision based upon a physician’s opinion about the patient’s condition.

SSA then approves or denies the claimant’s request for benefits. If denied, the claimant may appeal the findings and request a hearing. The hearing, also known as an administrative hearing, is held before a local administrative law judge (ALJ) who again evaluates the claimant’s request for disability benefits.

The claimant may decide to ask witnesses to testify at the administrative hearing. The claimant’s doctor(s) may be asked to testify at this time. For this reason, the physician may have greater influence when testifying before the ALJ.

SSA Disability Benefits

Submitting an application for SSA disability benefits is a lengthy process. After completing the application and sending it to Social Security, the claimant should expect a period of months before hearing if the request for benefits has been approved or denied. If the claimant is initially rejected for benefits, requesting an administrative hearing requires additional time.

Because the process from application to acceptance or denial of benefits can take up to a year or longer, claimants should start the application process as quickly as possible.


All disabled U.S. workers have the right to apply for disability benefits provided by the Social Security Administration. Parmele Law Firm, P.C. offers legal assistance to disabled claimants in search of SSA benefits.