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Home » Glossary » Disability Determination Services

Definition of Disability Determination Services

The Disability Determination Services Offices (DDS) is a network of Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and state agencies which review disability applications. Disability applications are sent to the DDS only after they have been reviewed by the SSA representatives in the field offices. The representatives in the field will first analyze whether the claimant meets the nonmedical requirements for SSI or SSDI before they send them on for further review. The DDS offices are funded by the Federal Government.

The DDS offices use standard determination procedures to make a disability determination. Evidence is gathered from the treating sources of each claimant. If the DDS needs more information they can send the claimant to a consultative examination for a medical review. The consultative examiner does not make a disability determination. They simply send information to the DDS who then decides if the claimant is disabled.

After the DDS makes their disability determination, the case is sent back to the field office where a denial or acceptance letter is generated. If the claimant is approved the award letter will notify them of their estimated payment amount and the first payment date. Claimants who are denied can request an appeal within 60 days from the date of the denial letter.

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