Verifying disability benefits in Missouri

Social Security is a federal program, with national guidelines on how qualified workers may claim disability benefits due to permanent or temporary work-preventing illness and injury. Qualifications for disability funds are universal, while each state has its own procedures for verifying claims.

Federal law requires that all applications for disability under Social Security are reviewed by Disability Determination Services specific to the state. There is no single Disability Determination Service in Missouri; one of five regional offices handles disability claims.

Cases are assigned a single examiner, who is empowered to review information from the claim and request medical records to verify it. A consultative examination may be scheduled if there is not enough information to make a determination.

Disabilities that appear on the approved "listing of impairments" are generally approved. If a person does not have an approved ailment but there is sufficient evidence to show a disability that impedes work, they may qualify for a Medical Vocational Allowance.

Approved claimants must fulfill an interview at the end of the claims process to verify that they still meet requirements for disability funds.

If a claim is denied to a resident of Missouri, they may appeal for reconsideration. The denial rate is high at 82.9 percent but lower than the national average of 88.9 percent.

A reconsideration denial may result in a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. Five locations across Missouri have an Office of Disability Adjudication and Review to hear appeals for Social Security disability claims.

If you or a family member has been denied disability benefits during this process, a legal advocate may help advance claims and verify requirements.

Source: Social Security Disability Resource Center, "Will I Qualify for Disability Benefits in Missouri?," accessed July 28, 2017

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