Overview of Disability

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Disability Requirements

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Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

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Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

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SSDRC Disability Blog

Who is the DDS Doctor, i.e. the Social Security Doctor?

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.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

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
Can I get disability based on my high blood pressure and my age?
Can I be in school and apply for disability?
How do you get meds in the two wait for Medicare after an Approval for Disability?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

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

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
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?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria