Who decides if I am disabled in a Social Security disability claim?

In a Social Security Disability claim, a claims handler at the lower level, at your local Social Security office, is the one that makes the decision on your case. They are a claims handler, again, with your local Social Security office. If you file an appeal and go to reconsideration, then your claim will be assigned to a new claims handler, and someone totally new will make a determination on your claim. If that person still says you're denied, then you have the right to ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Now, you have a real judge looking at your case who is outside of the local office, and they will make the decision on your case.