Disability Determination Services

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What Is The Disability Determination Services?

DDSs or Disability Determination Services are state agencies that receive funding from the US federal government. These entities, often state agencies, assist the Social Security Administration by processing the initial claims of applicants in their jurisdictions. 

When the application gets accepted, it gets sent for processing to the division of disability determination services in a state where an applicant lives.. With direction from the federal government, these DDSs accept applications and make what are referred to as initial determinations. Initial determinations that are denied, may then be appealed  and adjudicated at the DDS or by an Administrative Law Judge. 

An Important Note On The Process 

Disability Determination Services To be approved, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) candidates are required to meet the definition of disabled and the work credit requirements. Each work credit is based on earnings for previous years. Applicants can accrue up to four credits every calendar year. However, the total annual earnings required to earn a credit is based on a number of economic factors and can change from year to year. Most applicants will be required to have earned 40 total credits during their previous working years. Further, 20 of those credits must have been earned in the ten immediately preceding years.

In addition to the applicant,  certain family members including a dependent adult child,  may be eligible for benefits. Generally, an adult child who is still legally dependent on the beneficiary will be eligible where the adult child becomes permanently disabled before the age of 22

The requirements to qualify for the Social Security Insurance (SSI) program do not include work credit requirements.  

What Does the DDS Examiner Do? 

A disability examiner analyzes disability benefit applications. In addition to an applicant’s work & family needs, the DDS examiner may also request medical records to evaluate the claimant’s medical conditions. This evaluation will include  a determination as to whether the requisite medical considerations are met according to the SSD listing. If you have not seen a doctor or other medical professional recently, a disability examiner may request that you have a consultative examination with a doctor approved by the SSA. 

DDS examiners are charged with determining the vocational abilities of every claimant to determine their ability to return to work. When the DDS examiner finds that the medical condition of the prospective beneficiary restricts their ability to work significantly, that examiner will then evaluate essential aspects of the claimant, including:

  • Age
  • Education
  • Experience 

By considering the total circumstances, the disability examiner can assess the claimant’s capability to work in less demanding jobs, or whether the applicant can work at all. .

Once the SSD benefits get approved, the DDS continues the disability reviews, ensuring the eligible beneficiaries receive the SSD benefits. A majority of SSD claims receive a denial by the DDS at an initial stage of the process. 

In such cases, the claimants may request a hearing right before an administrative law judge to appeal the denial of claims. 

Steps to Proceed with Social Security Disability Determination Process 

Learn the steps to proceed with the DDS procedure convincingly.

Step 1: The Initial Application

First, you need to assert your right to benefits. You can do that by filling the application with the SSA. You can also make the application in different ways:

  • Either in person.
  • Call SSA through the toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
  • Visit the official SSA website.
  • Email SSA officials.

Social security may have the application reviewed your state’s DDS division upon applying. This portion of the process will require a significant amount of paperwork, records retrieval, and possibly visits to medical professionals. The initial step will end with the disability examiner rendering a decision on your applications. Statistically, most of these decisions are denials. 

Step 2: Reconsideration

If the initial application gets denied, you may file the appeal with the SSA. The appeal is referred to as a Request for Reconsideration. You must file a request to receive a hearing. Upon filing the appeal, the claim undergoes a similar evaluation procedure to the initial application. But, a new set of evaluators will make the final decision. If you are denied, there is an opportunity to file yet another appeal. 

Step 3: The Hearing

If the claim gets denied at the reconsideration phase, you now would need to request the hearing before the administrative law judge. The judge will  reevaluate the medical evidence and you will have an opportunity to tell your story. You will also have the chance to present witnesses before the judge renders a new decision in your case. Multiple cases get denied in this stage too.

Step 4: Appeals Council

The final appeal is to appeal to the SSA Appeals Council. If you are not successful at this stage, your only recourse is to sue the SSA in the federal court for the reversal of denial or a new hearing..

It is always better to book a free consultation with a disability lawyer before you decide about the same. Legal professionals will surely stand by your side to provide excellent legal help.


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