The Social Security Act provides benefits to disabled individuals under Title II (Disability Insurance Benefits) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income-SSI). Disability Determinations Services (DDS) is the state agency responsible for determining if individuals are disabled within the Title II/XVI requirements. All disability benefits, as well as the administrative costs of operating the DDS Program, are 100% federally funded.
The Social Security Act provides benefits to disabled individuals under Title II (Disability Insurance Benefits) and Title XVI (Supplemental Security Income-SSI).
Under Title II there are three basic categories of individuals who can qualify for benefits on the basis of disability:
- A disabled insured worker under 65.
- A person disabled since childhood (before age 22) who is a dependent
of a deceased insured parent or parent entitled to Title II disability or
- A disabled widow or widower age 50-60 if the deceased spouse was
insured under Social Security.
Under Title XVI (or SSI) there are two basic categories under which a financially needy person with limited income and resources can get payments on the basis of disability:
- An adult age 18 or over who is disabled.
- A child under 18 who is disabled.
The law defines disability as the inability to perform in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which is expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.
A medically determinable physical or mental impairment is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. A physical or mental impairment must be established by medical evidence consisting of signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings -- not only by the individual's statement of symptoms.
Most disability claims are initially processed through the network of local Social Security field offices and State agencies. In Louisiana the state agency is called Disability Determinations Services (DDS). Subsequent appeals of unfavorable determinations may be decided by Hearing Officers in the DDS's Hearing Units or Administrative Law Judges in SSA's Office of Hearings and Appeals.
Most questions can be answered by visiting the Social Security Web Site at www.ssa.gov . If you do not have access to the internet, you may call the toll free number at 1-800-772-1213. Operators at this number are available from 7 AM to 7 PM on business days.
- Baton Rouge area - call 1-800-256-2288
- Shreveport area - call 1-800-256-2266
- New Orleans - call 1-800-256-2299
- Baton Rouge area - call 1-800-732-8921
- Shreveport area - call 1-800-732-8919
- New Orleans area - call 1-800-732-8920
As of December 2002, the annual payments from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to disabled Louisiana citizens and their dependents total $5.0 billion. The average monthly benefit amount for disabled workers was $834. Under the SSI Disability program, the average monthly benefit was $398.
The Disability Determinations Services Program was established in 1954 by Congress enacting Section 211 of the Social Security Act. It was the intent of Congress that each state administer its own Disability Determinations Program following the guidelines established by Congress and the SSA. Applications for disability are taken 1) in person at local Social Security offices located throughout the state or 2) via the internet at www.ssa.gov or 3) by calling 1-800-772-1213. The claims then are forwarded to the Disability Determinations Services (DDS) Area Offices located in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Metairie for the medical determination. Upon completion of the medical decision, the claim is routed back to the appropriate Social Security Office for final processing of the decision.
Usually the DDS tries to obtain evidence from the individual’s own medical sources. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultative examination (CE) in order to obtain the necessary medical evidence. After completing its initial development, the DDS makes the disability determination. If the DDS finds that additional evidence is still needed, the consultant or examiner may re-contact a medical source(s) and ask for supplemental information.
If you disagree with your decision, you may request a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge
If a claimant is receiving benefits and a continuing disability review (CDR) finds the impairments are no longer disabling the claimant may request for a face to face hearings with a Disability Determination Services (DDS) Hearing Officer. DDS has Disability Hearings Units located in Shreveport, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge.
Social Security rules make it possible for people to test their ability to work without losing their rights to cash benefits and Medicare/Medicaid. These rules (called "work incentives") are different for Title II and XVI recipients but they both may provide:
- Continued cash benefits
- Continued help with medical bills
- Help with work expenses
- Vocational training
For more information please visit the Department of Children and Families website or contact the department directly using the information provided below.