Why Disability Determination Services Reviews SSD Claims

Disability Determination Services Reviews SSD Claims

While the Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal program, most claim reviews happen at the state level. You may find this confusing, since the SSA handles Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. But the entity that determines whether or not you’re eligible for payments is called Disability Determination Services (DDS).



Where Does Disability Determination Services Operate?

Because each state has unique disability benefits laws, it’s more efficient for the SSA to operate locally. The SSA employee handling your specific case usually has no say in whether or not you’re eligible for benefits. Instead, SSA field offices typically gather information on each claim’s non-medical eligibility requirements. After your claim meets those requirements, it moves on to Disability Determination Services.

What Does Disability Determination Services Do?

Disability Determination Services will confirm you meet all medical requirements before approving your claim for disability benefits. Disability Determination Services workers have two main responsibilities for confirming your claim’s eligibility, which we’ll explain below.

DDS Responsibility #1: Develop Medical Evidence for Social Security Disability Claims

Claim forms ask for a detailed description of your impairment(s). Your claim should also list all healthcare providers that treat your condition. Then, they review the medical records included with your application. If DDS needs more information to determine your eligibility, their doctor will schedule a new medical exam. Gathering medical evidence is time-consuming, and the DDS will be thorough. If any test or result isn’t clear, they will request another one.

DDS Responsibility #2: Determine Whether or Not Each Applicant’s Blind or Disabled

In addition to your medical evidence, DDS claims examiner will look at your personal statement. DDS also reviews statements from friends or family. From there, DDS decides whether or not you’re eligible for disability benefits. They are mainly trying to see how much your condition limits your ability to work.

Because each person’s employment history and abilities are different, DDS makes every decision on a case-by-case basis. A computer could never take all necessary factors into consideration before making such a decision. This is also why two people with identical conditions may get different outcomes on their disability applications.

Who Works for Disability Determination Services?

All claims examiners and medical officers at Disability Determination Services are government employees. These two departments work together to obtain all required medical evidence. They also verify all non-medical eligibility requirements for your application, including:

  • Age
  • Employment history
  • Job skills
  • Marital status
  • Social Security insurance coverage

Why Does Disability Determination Services Get Final Say Your Claim?

DDS officers make disability claim decisions every day, not your doctor or any SSA field agent or federal employee. There are several reasons for this, but mainly it’s because DDS examiners know what to look for in valid disability claims. They’ll consider your age, education, and work experience and try to find you a less demanding job so you can keep working. If it’s impossible to find a job that meets your current limitations, they may award you disability benefits. There are hundreds of factors that DDS must consider.

Once you’re approved for monthly benefits, DDS also handles continuing disability reviews. These reviews happen every 3, 5 or 7 years to ensure beneficiaries are still eligible for benefits.

What If My Claim’s Denied By Disability Determination Services?

DDS denies most initial Social Security claims (about 77%, according to the most recent SSA data). But there is still hope. Claimants can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). But it can be helpful to hire an attorney or speak to an advocate. They’ll explain the process the DDS takes, and help you get approved.

Need Help? You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

If you need help with your disability benefits application, reach out today to talk with an experienced disability attorney or advocate. Ensure you receive the benefits you need! The lawyers in our network offer free, confidential consultations to anyone with questions about how to apply for disability benefits. Click the button below to start your free disability benefits evaluation now.

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