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New SSAB Report on the Challenges Facing Social Security and State Disability Determination Services Agencies

April 6, 2023

Washington, DC – Approximately one million people are awaiting their disability decision from one of the 52 state Disability Determination Services agencies (DDSs). These DDSs have faced heightened challenges with staffing, technology, and communications during the COVID era; challenges that have affected the services provided by DDSs and the Social Security Administration (SSA). Today, the Board is releasing a report that examines the nearly 70-year partnership between SSA and the DDSs.

[Social Security and State DDS Agencies: A Partnership in Need of Attention]

There are inherent tensions in this partnership. Each DDS is fully funded by SSA and expected to follow SSA’s legislative and policy interpretations in determining eligibility for disability benefits. However, each DDS is also subject to its own state rules about hiring and other administrative functions. In this report, the Board advocates examining the SSA-DDS partnership to find ways to improve the disability determination process.


The Board’s mission is to advise the President, Congress, and Commissioner of Social Security on the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. The Board is comprised of Presidential and Congressional appointees with professional staff.