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Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Disability Determination Services (DDS)

The Iowa Disability Determination Services (DDS) Division 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).

Building Successful Futures for Iowans with Disabilities

Iowa DDS assists Iowans with disabilities to process disability determinations with accuracy, speed and care. 

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 Division.

Check my Application Status

The Determination Process

We obtain evidence from the your own medical sources.

Our staff arrange for a consultative medical examination. This is to gather information if medical evidence is unavailable or is insufficient to make a medical determination. A medical or psychological consultant and a DDS disability specialist make the disability determination.

DDS returns the claim to the SSA 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 if 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. This helps 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.

Appeal a Decision

If you are determined ineligible for Social Security disability benefits or SSI, you can request an appeal.

You can start an appeal 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:

Note: You cannot start an appeal by contacting Iowa DDS.

Appeal a Decision

Contact DDS

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