The Role of Disability Determination Services
For many people applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the primary concern is how to most effectively and efficiently apply for benefits. While it is helpful to know how the SSDI process works and the hurdles an applicant might face, it is also important to know who will be dealing with your application and what their role is. In Massachusetts, this is the office of Disability Determination Services (DDS), which is part of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our Social Security attorneys can help applicants understand the impact of DDS on the process.The Function of Disability Determination Services
Because of the immense number of SSDI claims that are filed each year by disabled individuals throughout the country, the Social Security Administration cannot handle the examination and evaluation process on its own in one central location. Instead, disability determinations are conducted on the state level, with each state having an agency that evaluates the initial eligibility of claimants. This decentralized approach allows the SSA to manage applications and evaluations more efficiently. In Massachusetts, the Disability Determination Services operates within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and it oversees much, if not all, of the SSDI process for applicants.
DDS employs the examiners who will review your application and complete the initial determination of whether you may qualify for SSDI benefits. DDS also employs medical and psychological consultants who assist in the evaluation of claims. Thus, when you file an initial application for government benefits, it will be sent to the Massachusetts DDS, which will assign the application to a disability examiner. This individual will review your file and determine your eligibility.
Additionally, in Massachusetts, if your claim is denied, DDS also will conduct the first level of appeal for a denied initial application. This is known as reconsideration. If DDS ultimately determines that, even after reconsideration, you are not eligible for benefits, any further appeals that you seek will be transferred to the Social Security Administration itself for consideration.
DDS also conducts periodic assessments of those currently receiving SSDI benefits, known as continuing disability reviews. If DDS ultimately determines that an applicant is no longer entitled to benefits after a continuing disability review, the agency will also oversee any appeals hearings that a claimant may seek in an effort to have benefits reinstated.
Thus, while SSDI falls within the purview of the Social Security Administration, the bulk of the day-to-day work is done through state agencies that, while fully funded by the SSA, operate somewhat independently from the larger agency itself.Consult a Knowledgeable SSDI Attorney in Massachusetts
When you seek government benefits, you may encounter several different individuals involved in the evaluation and processing of your application. At Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C., our SSDI lawyers can thoroughly explain the process to claimants in Massachusetts and the neighboring states. From our Boston offices, we have assisted people from New Hampshire to Rhode Island, as well as in Norfolk, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties. Call our office at (800) 367-0871 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.