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  • Christopher Le

What does Disability Determination Services do?

What does the Disability Determination Services office do with my Social Security Disability case?


The Social Security Administration (SSA) is responsible for administering Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. One of the key functions of the SSA is to determine whether an individual meets the criteria for disability benefits. This process is handled by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). In this blog, we will discuss what DDS does and how it works.


What is Disability Determination Services?

DDS is a state-level agency that is responsible for making the initial determination on whether an individual is disabled and eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits. DDS is funded by the federal government, but the state agencies are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the program. DDS works closely with the SSA to ensure that disability claims are processed in a timely and accurate manner.


What Does DDS Do?

DDS has a specific set of tasks that it performs to determine whether an individual is disabled and eligible for disability benefits. These tasks include:

  1. Receiving and processing disability claims: DDS is responsible for receiving and processing disability claims. When an individual applies for disability benefits, the application is sent to DDS to be processed.

  2. Obtaining medical evidence: DDS is responsible for obtaining medical evidence from the individual’s healthcare providers to support their disability claim. This includes medical records, test results, and other relevant information.

  3. Evaluating medical evidence: DDS evaluates the medical evidence to determine whether the individual meets the criteria for disability benefits. This includes determining the severity of the individual’s impairment and how it affects their ability to work.

  4. Making a determination: Based on the medical evidence and other information provided, DDS makes a determination on whether the individual is disabled and eligible for disability benefits.

  5. Providing feedback: DDS provides feedback to the individual regarding their disability claim, including the reasons for any denials and what steps they can take to appeal the decision.

How Does DDS Work?

DDS works in partnership with the SSA to ensure that disability claims are processed accurately and efficiently. The process generally involves the following steps:

  1. Initial application: The individual applies for disability benefits with the SSA.

  2. Medical evidence gathering: DDS obtains medical evidence from the individual’s healthcare providers.

  3. Medical evidence evaluation: DDS evaluates the medical evidence to determine whether the individual meets the criteria for disability benefits.

  4. Determination: DDS makes a determination on whether the individual is disabled and eligible for disability benefits.

  5. Appeals: If the individual’s claim is denied, they can appeal the decision through a multi-step process that includes a request for reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and an appeal to the Appeals Council and federal court if necessary.

In conclusion, the Disability Determination Services is a crucial part of the process for determining eligibility for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. It helps ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to access the financial assistance they need to support themselves and their families.

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