As prior posts on this blog have explained, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that helps people with few financial resources, and who are disabled, blind or over the age of 65, to pay their daily living expenses. The SSI program, which is centrally managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), is a vital lifeline for many people in the Houston area. But how does the State of Texas come into the picture as far as helping disabled Texans get the benefits that they need?
The Disability Determination Services (DDS) is a division of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, and its mission is to make disability determinations to help Texans get benefits. A person who is seeking SSI benefits, or other benefits through the SSA, starts by submitting an application to the SSA. Once the application is submitted at the local SSA office, the DDS gets the application and assigns it to a specialist within that division.
When the DDS specialist gets the application, that person examines the applicant's medical records, work history and other information. If the application does not include enough data, the DDS will set up a consultative examination. After the specialist has all the necessary information, the application moves on to a two-person team within the DDS. That team then makes a decision and moves the case back to the DDS field office for further action.
While the DDS is designed to help Texans with their Social Security benefits, this does not necessarily mean that it looks for ways to approve every application. In many cases, an applicant will be denied benefits. But, that person can still take action to try to get benefits.
An experienced Social Security attorney can help Houston residents understand the requirements for getting benefits. Likewise, an attorney can help people through every aspect of pursuing SSI-related benefits.
Source: Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, "Disability Determination Services," Accessed on Nov. 8, 2015