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Disability Determination

What is the Disability Determination program?

Disability Determination Services (DDS) determines medical eligibility for Missourians who have filed for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  SSA manages two programs that award benefits because of disability or blindness.   Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Title II, provides benefits for individuals who are disabled or blind and are "insured" based on the Social Security tax they paid on their earnings or the earnings of their spouse or parents.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Title XVI, provides payments to individuals that are disabled or blind, including children under age 18, who have limited income and resources.  Once a disability benefits claim has been filed with SSA, if the individual meets the non-medical requirements, the disability claim will be forwarded to DDS, a state agency, under the Office of Adult Learning and Rehabilitation Services.  Regulated and fully funded by the federal government, DDS decides whether or not a claimant’s medical condition is considered a disability under Social Security law.  To document the medical conditions of individuals, who have filed disability claims, DDS contacts doctors, hospitals, schools, employers, and other sources to obtain medical records and functional information.


Sometimes an independent exam is necessary in determining disability eligibility.  Using this medical information, along with the person's age, daily activity level, education, and past work experience, DDS will make a recommendation as to whether the individual's condition meets SSA’s medical requirements.  SSA will then determine whether the individual meets the non-medical standards.

The Social Security Disability program provides economic security to many Missouri citizens who are unable to work due to a disability.  As of December 2011, 340,742 Missourian’s received $377,956,000 in monthly Title II and XVI benefits from SSA. Source: Social Security Online.