Disability Determination Services, also known as DDS, are state agencies that develop medical evidence and make determinations of whether or not a claimant is disabled and eligible to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). They will approve or deny all of the SSDI and SSI applications for claimants in their state. These state agencies receive their funding from the United States Federal Government, and the agencies’ official titles may vary from state to state—as will the number of offices present in each state.
The SSDI and SSI application processes will both begin with local Social Security field offices. Once applications are submitted to the field offices, they are sent to the DDS agency in that state, where they will either be approved or denied before moving back to the local Social Security field office for final processing. DDS will generally deny the majority of disability applications it receives, meaning claimants will have to dispute that decision by requesting reconsideration or requesting a hearing (depending on where he or she is in the application process for SSDI benefits).