Disability Determination Services

What does Disability Determination Services mean?

The Disability Determination Services offices or DDS is a network of SSA field offices and state agencies which review disability applications, including subsequent reconsideration appeals. Applications are accepted at the SSA field offices in each state where SSA representatives review the nonmedical requirements including the age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information for each applicant. The field office then sends the case to the appropriate DDS office for evaluation for disability.

The DDS offices are generally state agencies but are funded by the Federal Government. Their tasks include reviewing the medical evidence gathered by the disability applicant's treating sources and determining if they are disabled or blind according to the requirements developed by the SSA. If the DDS does not have enough information to determine the claimant is disabled they will send them to a consultative examiner, who will provide additional information about the claimant's health condition.

After the DDS makes their disability determination the case is sent back to the field office. If the claimant was approved the SSA computes the benefit amount and begins paying benefits. If the claimant is found not disabled the SSA keeps the file in case of an appeal.

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