How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

What is the state disability agency (DDS, Disability Determination Services)?

DDS is where claims that are filed for disability are processed. This includes claims that have been filed under the title II program known as SSDI (Social Security Disability insurance) and claims that have been filed under the title 16 program known as SSI (supplemental security income). It also includes, of course, concurrent claims which are claims that involve both programs simultaneously.

DDS, or disability determination services, is what the state disability agency is known as in most states. In some states, however, it is known by similar but slightly different names such as the Bureau of Disability Determination and the Division of Disability Determination.

Regardless of the name used in a particular state, each state has been authorized to provide a disability determination services agency by the federal social security act. Therefore, each state has a DDS. Some states have only one centralized DDS (such as North Carolina), while other states have a decentralized DDS system that involves multiple DDS locations (such as the state of South Carolina).

How does a claim make it to DDS? After a disability application has been taken in a social security field office, it is transferred to the state agency. At the state agency it is assigned to case processing specialist. In some states, this individual may be referred to as a disability specialist but usually the designation is disability examiner.

The disability examiner is responsible for evaluating all the various evidence that may pertain to a disability claim. This will include medical evidence, vocational evidence, and subjective assessments.

The very first objective that is typically carried out by a disability examiner is to request the claimant's medical records. Usually on the first day after the examiner has been assigned the case, he or she will send out medical record request letters to every medical treatment source listed on the disability application (or appeal).

After this has been done, the case will ordinarily be put to the side, until at least some of the records have come in. Obviously, the wait for medical records is a large factor in determining how long it may take to receive a decision from disability determination services. Without the records and the information they contain, there is nothing to evaluate the claim with.

After the records have been received, however, the examiner will review them, looking for signs of functional limitations that result from the claimant's various physical and/or mental conditions. The more limitations that can be noted, the higher the likelihood that the examiner will conclude that A) the claimant cannot return to their past work and B) the claimant cannot be expected to do some type of other work.

For child disability claims, of course, the medical records (and school records) will have no bearing on the ability to work. For children who are filing for disability benefits, the examiner will also look for signs of functional limitations, but these will regard the ability of the child to engage in age-appropriate activities (such as performing on the same academically with school peers).

Continued at: The Decision on the Social Security Disability Claim or SSI Claim

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

What is DDS, or Disability Determination Services?
What is the state disability agency (DDS, Disability Determination Services)?
Who is the DDS Doctor, i.e. the Social Security Doctor?
Disability determination services in North Carolina
How long will it take to receive my Social Security Award letter and back pay?
Should I Pay a Disability Attorney a 21% Fee?
Should you get a disability lawyer before you get denied in California?
Social Security Disability Back Pay in California
Social Security Disability For Mental Illness in California

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.