Disability Determination Services

A woman and a man sitting at desk discussing paperwork
The Disability Determination Services makes medical eligibility determination on applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for the Social Security Administration. 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.

Social Security Disability Benefits: An Overview

The Social Security Administration pays disability benefits under two programs:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Disability Determination Services

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.

Web site: visit the Social Security Administration Web site.

Phone: 800.772.1213

People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call SSA's toll-free TTY number 800.325.0778.

Phone and Address: Check the blue government pages of your telephone book, or contact your local telephone information operator for assistance.

Are you eligible to apply for benefits?

Your local Social Security office staff will review the non-medical portion of your application to see if you are eligible to apply for disability benefits. They will look at your work history to determine whether you have worked long enough and recently enough, your age, your income and your resources.