Who Are We?
Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the State Agency that makes the disability decisions for Social Security. When Social Security added protection for the disabled in 1954, the Congress wrote into the law that the disability decision had to be made by a State Agency and not by a federal office. Social Security pays the State to run the office and make the decision. The DDS has nothing to do with the application process, any other eligibility determination, nor the determination or calculation of benefits.
"To make accurate and timely disability decisions for the residents of Colorado in a courteous, cost conscious manner following Social Security disability rules and regulations"
- We treat all of our clients with dignity and respect guided by the State Code of Ethics
- We prize excellence and accuracy in our decision-making.
- We see change as opportunity.
- We elicit and value client input about our processes.
- Our aim is to be the benchmark DDS for customer service, accuracy of our decisions, and cost effectiveness.
Our offices are in Aurora at I-225 and Parker road. We are housed on two floors of an office building, with our Administrative offices on the 5th floor. We employ approximately 50 disability examiners, 25 physicians, and 40 administrative and clerical staff. We make medical decisions on about 40,000 claims per year.
Our staff gathers medical information from the sources listed by our clients and any new sources we discover in that process. We evaluate that evidence against Social Security Disability criteria. These criteria are very specific. They essentially say that our applicants must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that is expected to result in death or which will last for at least 12 consecutive months, and which prevents them from performing the work related activities of their previous jobs or any other jobs which they might be able to perform based on their age, education, and work experience. (See www.ssa.gov/disability for complete information about Social Security Disability programs.)
Social Security has two disability programs - Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). There are some differences and some similarities in the two programs. The definition of medical disability is the same under both programs.
Social Security Disability Insurance pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured" meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
Supplemental Security Income pays disability benefits based on financial need.
When you apply for either program, we will collect medical and other information from you and make a decision about whether or not you meet Social Security's definition of disability.
These are the basic steps in the process
- Apply at the local Social Security Office.
- This may be in person where you sign all forms with the Claims Representative or,
- You can apply by telephone (800-772-1213) and send the signed forms back to the Claims Representative.
- You can also apply online at https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/apply.html
- Social Security sends the file to the DDS.
- We gather information from the medical and vocational sources that you told us about.
- We may arrange for a medical examination at our expense if we need specific information that is not in the records we receive.
- We evaluate all of the medical evidence and your previous work experience and compare it to SSA criteria.
- We make a determination on the application.
- We send your records back to SSA with our decision.
- SSA contacts you with the final results after they make the final determination of eligibility for benefits.
These are some things that we may do:
- Contact you and all of your medical sources.
- Contact people you have told us about who know how your condition affects your daily life.
- Answer questions about the medical information in file.
- Ask for your help to get medical evidence.
- Ask you to go for a specific medical examination at our expense.
- Invite you to discuss the claim with us.
These are some things that we cannot do:
- Discuss your claim or any of the medical evidence with anyone but you or your representative.
- Tell you anything about your potential eligibility or payment. Social Security must release that information.
Frequently Called Numbers:
|DDS Front Desk||303-368-4100|
|SSA Information Line||800-772-1213|
|TDD - SSA - National||800-325-0778|
|TDD - SSA - Local||303-236-9826|
|State of Colorado General Information||303-866-5000|
|Dept of Health and Human Services Info||303-866-5700|