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Social Security and State Disability Determination Services Agencies: A Partnership in Need of Attention

April 6, 2023

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and state Disability Determination Services (DDS) agencies share responsibility for initial disability determination decisions. This report outlines the SSA/DDS partnership’s history, evolution, and management. It also articulates that the relationship structure has remained static for decades even as technology, program integrity, and other requirements have changed. Lastly, it offers examples of how SSA’s management approach helps and hinders the relationship and the disability determination process more broadly and highlights three areas warranting further review: DDS personnel, information technology, and performance and productivity.