What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips ó how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
Who is the DDS Doctor, i.e. the Social Security Doctor?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
The "DDS doctor" is the medical consultant who works in the same case processing unit at DDS (disability determination services, where disability claims are handled for the social security administration) as the disability examiner who has been assigned to work on a social security disability claim or SSI claim.
Officially, their title is usually medical examiner or medical consultant. To be a medical consultant, an individual must be a physician with an M.D. degree and license. Very often, the doctors at DDS are physicians who have retired from their regular practice and are now significantly older.
What does a medical consultant do on a disability case? After a disability examiner has completed his or her evaluation of the case (which includes gathering and reviewing the claimant's medical records, speaking with the claimant about their daily activities, and reviewing the claimant's relevant work history), they will typically write a synopsis of the pertinent facts of the case and also complete what is known as an RFC, or residual functional capacity form. A physical RFC form will be completed if the claimant's conditions are physical in nature and a mental RFC form, or MRFC, will be done if the claimant's conditions are mental in nature. Very often, of course, a case will require both types of forms.
RFC forms basically describe the specific limitations that a claimant has as a result of their medical condition. And when a disability examiner completes these forms, they are setting the stage for a decision to be made on the case. Based on how the claimant's condition is rated on the RFC form(s), and based also on what the requirements of the claimant's past jobs were, the case may be approved, or the disability case may be denied.
Because so much hinges on the accuracy of a completed RFC form, the social security administration generally requires disability examiners to have their RFC forms reviewed by a medical consultant and/or a psychological consultant.
Basically, this is what happens: the disability examiner will go in to the office of one of his unit's consultants after the consultant has had the opportunity to review the claimant's medical records as well as the work done thus far by the examiner. If the consultant agrees with the assessment of the examiner, they will "sign off on it". If not, the examiner may be asked to give further consideration to the facts of the case.
The purpose of using consultants is to help ensure that disability examiners adhere to sound decision-making and also to make sure that each case is ultimately reviewed by someone who is not just a case-processor but who has medical or mental training.
DDS doctors are not to be confused with the doctors who perform independent consultative examinations (called CE for short) for the social security administration.
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Topics and Questions
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials