The Steps to your Initial Disability Determination
Once apply for disability in Nevada and your application arrives at the Disability Determination Services (DDS), your case is assigned to an examiner. The DDS examiners job is to use the information provided in your application to see if you meet the criteria for disability benefits.
These criteria are:
1. Are you working at Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)? Even being able to work a small amount does not disqualify you from claiming disability. If you are found to be able to support yourself by working, you will be denied benefits. If your impairment keeps you from earning enough money to support yourself, then you pass this step.
2. Is your condition(s) severe enough to prevent you from doing basic work?
3. Does your condition(s) “meet or medically equal” the definition in the list of impairments? If you can prove that you have met a listing, or if your conditions combined create problems which equal the listed conditions, then you will continue on to the next step. If your condition does not meet or equal a listing, you could be denied.
4. Are you able to perform your past line of work? If you can return to your line of work, you will not be given benefits. If you are found unable to return to your previous line of work, you will go to the last step.
5. Do your condition(s) and abilities allow you to do a different line of work? This is somewhat up to the SSA and their experts to determine whether there is another line of work that you are able to do. Rather than only going on your medical records, they must speculate about other jobs you can perform.
If more medical information is needed before a decision can be reached, you may be asked to have a Consultative Exam (CE). This is an exam performed by a doctor assigned by the state which is intended to fill in any gaps in your medical information. The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays for this exam. Once enough medical information is gathered your initial application will either be approved or denied.
Your application will be returned to the SSA who will continue with the appropriate action. If you have been found to be disabled, then the SSA will calculate the benefit amount and pay benefits. If you are found not to be disabled, your file will be kept in the field office in case you decide to appeal your claim. This is called a Reconsideration Appeal.