What is Disability Determination Services (DDS)?

When someone applies for disability benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), they need to meet certain criteria to be approved. One of those criteria is the determination as to whether they are, in fact, disabled. When that happens, an applicant will need to pay a visit to their local Disability Determination Services (DDS) office.

DDS refers to a collection of state-run agencies that exist as extensions of the federal Social Security Administration (SSA). These agencies conduct disability evaluations on behalf of the SSA, determining not only whether someone has a physical or psychological disability, but also if it is sufficiently disabling that they cannot engage in gainful employment. They also determine the likelihood that the person will recover from their disability and conduct periodic reviews of disability recipients’ status to determine if they have recovered sufficiently to return to the workforce.

The purpose of DDS is for the government to exercise a measure of control over the standards for disability determinations, by ensuring disability reviews under rigorous government oversight. The fear is that placing these determinations in the hands of private doctors would create too much inconsistency in the process and open up opportunities for abuse. Sadly, this fear has proved to be more than theoretical, as seen in circumstances where DDS has brought in private doctors to help handle its case load. Thus, DDS will likely continue to handle disability determinations for the Social Security Administration for the foreseeable future.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.

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