What Are Disability Determination Services?

If you are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you will hear mention of Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS are state agencies that get federal government funding. DDS’s job is to determine if an applicant qualifies for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). DDS can go by different names in different states. As an example, in Pennsylvania DDS is called the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) while in Florida it is called the Division of Disability Determinations (DDD).

Each state has at least one office used by DDS but there are some states that have multiple offices because they use a system that isn’t centralized. Regardless of what DDS is called in a specific state, the agency has the basic task of determining if individuals who apply for disability benefits, also called claimants, are eligible to receive benefits from the state’s adult Medicaid program or qualifies for disability benefits from the SSA.

How DDS Works

DDS decides both kinds of Social Security Disability claims – claims for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is needs-based, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which is based on work credits and employment history. Both SSI and SSDI have very specific medical criteria that can be found in the medical guide, which is called the Blue Book. The question of medical eligibility is answered at the time of the initial application as well as the reconsideration level – which is the first appeal after a claim being denied.

Usually, most claims are denied on the initial review – reports indicate that as many 65 percent of applicants have their claims denied. After a claim has been denied, the claimant can ask for their case to be reconsidered. When a claim is reconsidered, it will most likely be denied again. About 87 percent of claims being reconsidered are denied. At that point, you would request a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. At the hearing, the judge will determine if the claimant qualifies for disability benefits after reviewing all the information made available – including medical records, work history, educational background, and transferrable skills. All these things are considered when determining if you are able to work.

What Are Disability Determination Services?

Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits

If you are applying for disability benefits from the SSA, you need to provide DDS with hard medical evidence that confirms your medical diagnosis, your symptoms and prognosis, and your restrictions and limitations. The more documentation that you provide, the more likely you are to have a successful claim. Claimants who are represented by disability attorneys are much more likely to have a case approved for disability benefits from the SSA.

Social Security Disability attorneys aren’t paid until you are awarded benefits are awarded backpay. They will then receive the pre-agreed portion of your backpay and are paid directly from the SSA. To get your claim underway, consult with a Social Security Disability attorney. Your lawyer will have direct contact with DDS, and make sure all your supporting documentation is sent to the proper agency in a timely manner.

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