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Disability Determination Services

What is the Disability Determination program?

Disability Determination Services (DDS) determines medical eligibility for Missourians who have filed for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits.  Disability claims are filed with SSA. If an individual meets technical eligibility, SSA sends the claim to DDS. DDS is a state agency under Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation.  Regulated and fully funded by the federal government, DDS decides whether or not a claimant’s medical condition or blindness is considered a disability under Social Security law.

SSA manages two programs that award benefits on the basis of disability or blindness.  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Title II, provides benefits for individuals who meet SSA’s definition of disability or blindness, worked and paid Social Security taxes.  Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Title XVI, provides payments to individuals who meet the definition of disability or blindness, including children under age 18, who have limited income and resources.

DDS contacts doctors, hospitals, schools, employers and other sources to obtain medical records and a claimant’s functional information.  Sometimes, an independent exam is necessary to determine eligibility.  DDS evaluates the medical evidence, considers the claimant’s age, education and past work experience when making a disability determination.  All DDS medical determinations are subject to an SSA accuracy review.

The Social Security Disability program provides economic security to many Missouri citizens who are unable to work due to a disability. 

How to Apply for Benefits

To apply for Social Security disability benefits or for additional information, call the Social Security Administration toll free at (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 TTY, or visit SSA's Web site at

You can also file a claim at your local Social Security office.  To find the location of the office nearest you, go to

Disability Determination Offices