Assess claimants to see who qualifies for disability benefits.
What does a Social Security Disability Evaluator do?
A Social Security Disability Evaluator, also known as a Social Security Disability Examiner, decides on behalf of the Social Security Administration who qualifies for disability benefits. Social Security was designed to be a social “safety net” for people who are old, widowed, or disabled. Like all safety nets, however, Social Security needs someone to hold it steady and position it properly so that it can catch the right people — those who truly need help — when they fall. In the case of disability benefits, that person is the Social Security Disability Evaluator.
As a Social Security Disability Evaluator, you’re not a Physician, Psychologist, Lawyer, or Rehabilitation Counselor. And yet, you share duties and responsibilities with all four.
Here’s how it works: When a person becomes unable to work due to injury or illness, he or she files a claim with the federal government, seeking financial assistance. The government then sends a Social Security Disability Evaluator — you — to investigate the claim.
Although you’re not a Physician or a Psychologist, you must review the claimant’s signs, symptoms, and medical records to make judgments about his or her physical and/or mental prognosis, whether it was alleged by the claimant or diagnosed by a Doctor. Although you’re not an Attorney, you must apply legal principles in order to enforce the rules of the Social Security system. And although you’re not a Rehabilitation Counselor, you must assess the claimant’s physical and mental capacity in order to determine whether or not he or she can work.
Social Security works best when it’s not abused. Simply put, then, your job is protecting both the system and the people who need it.