Disability Determination Services

What Is Disability Determination Services?

When you submit an application for disability benefits to the Social Security Administration that application has to go through several steps and be investigated by a couple of different offices. 

The office of disability determination services is one of the offices that needs to verify information on your disability benefits application before your application can be approved. 

The office Disability Determination Services is made up of medical experts who will review all of the medical documentation you submit with your application for disability benefits. 

They will sort through all the medical records that you submit to make sure that your medical documentation shows you have a severe impairment that makes you qualified for disability benefits. This process can take some time depending on how much medical evidence you have submitted. Specialists rom the DDS office may need to speak with your doctor, psychologist, or other medical professionals to get them to clarify their statements or to ask them questions about your condition. They will also need to verify that your medical condition prevents you from performing your job or any other job. 

 DDS makes the initial determination for each Social Security disability benefit application. They also rule on cases that are resubmitted for reconsideration. Each state has at least one DDS office and some states have more than one.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applicants must have worked a required length of time and must have paid into the Social Security system to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In addition to the worker, his or her dependent adult child may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if the child became permanently disabled before age 22. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) applications are based on financial need only and claimants are not required to have paid into the Social Security system to receive benefits. The medical criteria for eligibility are the same as for benefits under SSDI. Claimants under SSI and SSDI may also be eligible for Medicare benefits.

What Does It Mean When Disability Determination Calls You?

If you receive a call from the Disability Determination Services office don’t panic. It probably just means that the specialist reviewing your application has questions about your medical evidence or may need to get more information from you. They also may need you to authorize the release of medical records to their office. 

What Are DDS Examiners?

 DDS examiners make sure each claimant meets all the requirements of the program under which the claimant applies for benefits.

In addition to work and family requirements, the DDS examiner will request medical records which he or she will use to evaluate a claimant’s medical condition and to determine if the requisite medical criteria are met according to the appropriate Social Security Disability listing. To make this determination, the DDS examiner may consult with the claimant’s physicians and treatment facilities and with in house DDS medical consultants.

DDS examiners are also charged with determining the vocational ability of each claimant. If the DDS examiner finds that a claimant’s medical condition significantly restricts his or her ability to work, the examiner will consider the claimant’s age, education, and experience in order to determine the claimant’s ability to work at a less demanding job. If the outlook is not favorable, the claimant may be awarded Social Security disability benefits based on his or her inability to adapt to a new, less demanding job.

Once Social Security disability benefits are approved, the DDS also performs continuing disability reviews to ensure that only those beneficiaries who are eligible continue to receive benefits.

Most Social Security disability claims are denied by DDS at the initial and at the reconsideration level, requiring claimants to request a hearing before an administrative law judge before they can be approved for Social Security disability benefits.

If you need information about the status of your disability claim or want to make sure all the records that have been requested have been received, it is good to call DDS rather than the District Office Claims Rep assigned to your case.

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!