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Disability Determination Services

Disability Determination Services

Office: (405) 419-2200

How to Apply for Social Security

You can apply for disability benefits online, by phone, by mail or by visiting any Social Security Administration (SSA) office.

Phone: (800) 772-1213  
TTY:  (800) 325-0778.

The Disability Determination Services makes medical eligibility determination on applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the Social Security Administration (SSA).

These determinations are based on federal rules and regulations. All applications for benefits must be submitted through the SSA office.

SSDI pays disability benefits to individuals who are insured due to contributions to the Social Security trust fund through Social Security tax on their earnings. SSDI also makes payments to certain people with disabilities who are dependents of insured individuals.

SSI provides for payments to persons, including children under the age of 18, who have disabilities and limited income and resources.

The SSA, which makes decisions about eligibility for disability benefits, defines disability as the inability to engage in substantial gainful activity because of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which has lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months or is expected to result in death. Disability Determination Services operations are fully funded by the SSA.

Are you eligible to apply for benefits?

Anyone is able to apply. Your local Social Security office staff will review the non-medical portion of your application to determine the benefits for which you are eligible. They will look at your work history, your age, your income and your resources.

In Oklahoma, your application is then sent to the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS, a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, is responsible for making timely, and accurate disability determinations in accordance with Social Security Rules and Regulations.

DDS personnel, consisting of a physician or psychologist and a disability examiner, will consider all the facts in your case using medical information from your doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other places where you have been treated to determine if you are found to be medically disabled.

Once a determination on your claim is reached, you will get a written notice from the Social Security Administration explaining the determination. If your claim is approved, the notice will show the amount of your benefit and when payments will start.

DRS and Disability Determination

Voice over (VO): The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits to Oklahomans who can’t work due to a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.

Bruce Smith, Professional relations Office: We look at each case on an individual basis and make sure that we make the correct decision on it. Because we do know that people's lives depend on it.

VO: Disability Determination is a division of the state Department of Rehabilitation Services. But the program is funded by the federal government to determine eligibility for Social Security disability benefits. Disability examiners and consulting physicians or psychologists work as a team on the medical review process. They decide whether or not applicants are disabled or blind based on medical evidence and federal rules and regulations.

Christy Washington, DD Specialist Level 4: In the event that the consumer’s medical records don’t have enough information or not the type of information we need, our agency will pay for a private exam in the community. So we can get the information we need to help the consumer.

VO: Children are evaluated based on their ability to perform age-appropriate activities. Cases are re-evaluated periodically to make sure that individuals receiving benefits are still disabled.

Washington: Here at DDD, the process of making all our medical records come in electronically has help to speed up the process and to be able to make decisions more quickly and efficiently. 

Larry Jones, Social Security Administration Public Affairs Specialist: The thing I like about the Disability.

Determination Division is the fact that their employees are really well trained and understand exactly what they are doing. They’ve had a remarkable accuracy rate, in fact, it’s over 96% in the last year. They take over 50,000 cases a year from the offices around the state of Oklahoma.

VO: Disability Determination helps Oklahomans cope with loss of income due to disability. As a result, they gain more independence and make a better life for themselves and their families. 

Smith: As a result of finding an allowance not only do the people receive benefits – the people that apply – sometimes their family members and it will raise the quality of life for the whole family not just the person who applies and is allowed.

Copyright 2008 Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services. 

What to Bring

You will need to bring:

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States;
  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968;
  • W-2 forms(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year;
  • Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results; and
  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers' compensation-type benefits you received.
*Photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents are acceptable, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate. (These documents will be returned to you.)
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.

Social Security Disability Benefits: An Overview

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)SSDI provides disability benefits to blind or disabled individuals who are insured based on federal insurance contributions (FICA) paid into the Social Security Trust Fund. Certain family members can also receive benefits based on a worker's contributions.Supplemental Security Income (SSI)SSI provides benefits to individuals who are disabled, blind or elderly, with limited income and resources, including children under age 18, who are disabled, blind or elderly.

The medical requirements that determine who is eligible for disability payments are the same under both programs. Under the Social Security system, disability payments are based on inability to work. Individuals are considered "disabled" if they are unable to do any kind of work and their disabilities are expected to last for at least twelve months or result in death.

For more information on Social Security topics: