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Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Disability Determination Services (DDS)

The Iowa Disability Determination Services (DDS) bureau of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) makes disability determinations for Iowans. DDS works with those who apply for and receive Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits to improve their quality of life. Those benefits include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/ or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

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Building Successful Futures for Iowans with Disabilities

The Iowa DDS assists Iowans with disabilities through our consistent effort to process disability determinations with accuracy, speed and care. Our DDS staff have been recognized by the the Social Security Administration Regional Commissioner for clearing more than 41,000 claims yearly, while maintaining an impressive 95.7% accuracy rate!

We also determine Military Casualty/Wounded Warrior cases. Wounded Warrior cases are determined by specially-trained staff with DDS, who are dedicated to processing these cases in the most accurate and timely manner possible. These expedited determinations help United States military service members in Iowa receive Social Security disability benefits if eligible.

Due to the effort of DDS staff, more Iowans with disabilities who are eligible for Social Security benefits have access to these benefits today.

Applying for Benefits

Iowans with physical or mental impairments apply for benefits directly to the SSA. Your application is then forwarded to DDS by the Social Security Administration. You can apply for SSDI or SSI benefits through Social Security in one of three ways:

Note: You must submit your application through SSA. Please do not submit disability benefits application to DDS Bureau.

Apply for Benefits

Check my Application Status

The Determination Process

We obtain evidence from the your own medical sources. Our staff arrange for a consultative medical examination to obtain additional information if medical evidence is unavailable or is insufficient to make a medical determination. A two-person team, consisting of a medical or psychological consultant and a DDS disability specialist, make the disability determination.

DDS returns the claim to the SSA field office for appropriate action and communication with you. Although DDS makes the disability determination for SSA, only SSA can determine who is eligible to receive benefits. We determine if an applicant is disabled according to federal criteria. DDS follows the rules and regulations set by Congress to assess whether applicants meet the requirements for disability.

See Disability Determination Process Flow Chart
Disability Determination Process Text Version 

Expedited Claim Processing

SSA has developed a "fast-track" determination process to reduce decision times for those who have the most severe disabilities:

Contact a Professional Relations Officer (PRO) with questions about expedited claims. Call (800) 532-1223, ext. 50705.

Appeal a Decision

If you are determined ineligible for Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income, you can request an appeal. An appeal can be initiated by contacting SSA. Per SSA guidelines, the appeal must be submitted within 60 days of the written notice of the decision.

View the Disability Determination Appeals Process

Ways In Which You Can Appeal:

  • Find information online at the SSA website
  • Call 1.800.772.1213 (TTY 1. 800. 325. 0778)
  • Visit a local SSA office

Note: An appeal cannot be initiated by contacting Iowa Disability Determination Services.

Appeal a Decision

Contact DDS

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