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What Is Social Security’s Quick Disability Determination?


The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses two programs to speed up certain applications: Compassionate Allowances and Quick Disability Determinations (QDD). The former applies to severe and easily identifiable diseases, which are often terminal, whereas QDD utilizes a computer program — a predictive model — to identify applications with a high likelihood of being approved and moves them to the top of the docket.

There’s no way to guarantee that your Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) application enters QDD. However, providing the right kind and amount of medical evidence may help your chances of being approved on the fast track.

The Quick Disability Determination Process


As mentioned, the QDD uses a constantly changing predictive model to identify high-probability factors for disability approval within every application the SSA receives. Though not a perfect system, applicants who meet certain criteria and who have sufficient medical evidence to support their claim and onset date can receive approval in under a month.

Keep in mind the SSA still enforces a five-month waiting period between the onset date of your disability and when you start receiving benefits through SSDI. This means that if you are approved through QDD just two months after becoming disabled, you still won’t receive any financial assistance from SSDI until three months later.

Basic Criteria for QDD

To qualify for the QDD process, the predictive model judges applications based on three different criteria:

  • The Claimant Is Most Likely Disabled: This is based on the type of listing under which the claimant’s injury falls.
  • Medical Evidence Is Readily Available: This considers the type of supporting evidence for the claim and whether or not it is substantive.
  • The Disability Determination Bureau (DDB) Can Quickly Process the Case: This deals with the SSA’s internal processes for certain impairments.

As you may have guessed, it’s hard to predict exactly which cases will be chosen for QDD. Each case varies widely in strength of evidence, type of disorder, and how it is handled by workers in the SSA. For the most up-to-date advice and information, consider working with an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

How Claims Are Approved Through QDD

When the predictive model determines an application has a high chance of being approved for benefits, it sends the application to designated employees within the DDB who have the experience, skill, and training necessary to handle the quick turnaround.

This means that the QDD bypasses a major, time-consuming step in disability applications: review by a medical professional. Because the SSA relies on experts to review and interpret normal, non-expedited applications, this is a major factor in the amount of time it takes to approve or deny a claim. Cases that include lots of relevant medical records may have a better chance of being approved, but it will take time for doctors or other professionals to evaluate the evidence and make a final decision.

With QDD, no medical professional is required to approve a claim. However, only the computer’s predictive model can assign cases as QDD; no worker in the SSA can manually add an application to the fast track. Once a worker reviews a QDD case, they can decide to remove it from the workflow, but only if it lacks evidence, contains false claims, or further (professional) evaluation is required.

Preparing an SSDI Claim with a Disability Attorney

There is no way to guarantee that your application will go through the QDD and be approved for the fast track. It’s entirely possible (and likely) that your application will simply be shuffled through the SSA’s frustratingly slow system.

Regardless of which system your application ends up in, a qualified Social Security disability attorney may be able to help. Hensley Legal Group’s local Social Security disability attorneys have helped thousands of Hoosiers file their SSDI claims. To get started today, call us or contact us online. Your conversation is totally free.