Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Commonly Used Social Security Terms Explained

The Social Security Disability process can often be time-consuming and frustrating for those applying. Many claimants frequently get confused due to the many new terms they come across while dealing with Social Security paperwork and requests. We’ve put together a list of commonly used Social Security terms and their meanings to help you out with your claim.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) or Adult Function Report:

This form details how your conditions affect your daily life. It includes questions about what you do on a daily basis and how you are able to care for yourself and your personal needs. This form is important, because it is your chance to show Social Security how your conditions limit your ability to function on a day to day basis.


This is the person who handles your claim at Disability Determination Services (DDS). It is their job to gather your medical records, send out forms for you to fill out and schedule exams if necessary. If they are missing information they will contact you; it is important that you respond immediately, or your claim could be denied.

Alleged Onset Date:

This is the date in which you claim your disability became severe enough to keep you from working. This date can differ from Social Security’s Onset Date, the date that Social Security decides that your disability is severe enough to keep you from working.

Auxiliary Benefits:

These benefits are paid to the minor children of the disabled receiving Disability Insurance Benefits. Their disabled children may also be eligible to receive benefits if their disability began before the age of 22.

Claims Representative:

This person handles your claim while it is at the main Social Security Administration office. It is their responsibility to handle the claim before it is sent to Disability Determination Services and after the medical decision has been made.

Consultative Exam (CE):

These exams are scheduled if there is not enough medical information for Disability Determination Services to make a decision. They are generally very brief ten to fifteen minute exams used to gather more information about a claimant’s condition. These appointments are important to attend, because missing an exam can result in a denial as SSA will not be able to gather they evidence they need.

Disability Determination Services:

This is the branch of Social Security that determines whether a claimant is medically disabled or not. This office will gather medical records and compare these to the age, education and work experience of the claimant in order to determine whether they are blind or disabled under Social Security’s rules.

Disability Insurance Benefits:

Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) are one type of benefit program that Social Security offers to disabled Americans. You must have worked enough an earned enough work credits to be eligible for DIB (the general rule of thumb is that you must have worked at least 5 out of the past 10 years and paid into the system) and you must be found medically disabled to be eligible.

Medical Review:

This is the last stage of the determination process, where the staff doctors at Disability Determination Services will review the medical evidence and make a medical decision. A claim can sometimes be sent back to the adjudicator from medical review if the doctor feels that more information is needed to make a decision.

Onset Date:

This is the date that Social Security decides that your disability became severe enough to keep you from working and determines when your benefits will start. This date can differ from the claimant’s Alleged Onset Date as it is determined based on when Social Security decides you cannot work.

PERK Meeting:

This meeting is held between the claims representative and the claimant as the last step before SSI can be awarded. The claims representative will go over the earnings and resources of the claimant one final time before determining the amount of payment.

Quality Review:

Quality Review is a step that certain randomly-selected claims must go through once a decision has been made on the claim. The Social Security Administrations selects a handful of claims every month to review and ensure that the correct decision was made by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). This process can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks.

Social Security Administration:

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a part of the US federal government which is in charge of funding Retirement, Disability, and Survivor’s benefits to eligible Americans. Social Security offices are located in all major cities in the United States.

Supplemental Security Income:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the second type of disability benefit that disabled Americans can qualify for. SSI is a welfare-based program in which claimants must have a very limited income and resources to be eligible, as well as being found medically disabled.

Survivor’s Benefits

Survivor’s Benefits are monthly benefits that Social Security pays to family members of a deceased spouse or parent. Generally, the deceased person must have paid into the system or already been receiving Disability or Retirement benefits for family members to be eligible.

Work Activity Report:

This form is sent out by Social Security if they see any wages earned by the claimant after the Alleged Onset Date.

Work Credits:

These are used to determine whether a claimant is eligible for Disability Insurance Benefits or not. They are earned by working and paying into Social Security; one can earn a maximum of four each year, and twenty are needed in the last ten years in order to qualify for DIB.

Work History Report:

The Work History Report is a form that is sent out by Disability Determination Services and asks detailed questions about a claimant’s past work history. It is very important to fill this form out as thoroughly and truthfully as possible as Social Security needs these dates and details on your past work in order to be able to determine if you can go back to this type of work, or any other type of job that exists.

3rd Party Function Report:

This form should be filled out by a close friend or family member that knows about your conditions. Similar to the Adult Function Report, this form details how your conditions affect your life. It includes questions about what you do on a daily basis and how you are able to care for yourself and your personal needs. This form is important, because it shows from another person’s view how your conditions affect your ability to function on a day to day basis.

Disability Group Inc was founded on the principles of dignity and respect. We are a national law
firm focused exclusively on helping people receive the Social Security Disability benefits they deserve. For more information about Social Security, or to see if you qualify for benefits, visit us at

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