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Disability Determination Services

About the Program

Disability Determination Services makes disability determinations on behalf of the commissioner of Social Security for residents of Kentucky. The program uses federal regulations to determine disability for both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). The program also adheres to federal regulations for performance accuracy and processing time standards.

The program does not take applications for these benefits. Applications for disability benefits are filed at any of 27 local Social Security offices throughout the state. The program does not determine technical eligibility for SSI or SSDI. Technical eligibility is determined by the local Social Security office based on credits earned by working for SSDI and income and asset levels for SSI.

The program also includes the Medical Review Team who determines medical eligibility using state regulations for the following state public assistance programs: KTAP (Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program) and Family Medicaid (based on the deprivation of incapacity) and Adult Medicaid (based on disability).

Mission Statement

Mission of Disability Determination Services is to provide accurate and timely disability decisions for the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Vision Statement

To be recognized as a national leader in providing caring, compassionate and legally sound disability services by:

  • Recruiting, empowering and retaining a highly skilled and diverse workforce
  • Providing an environment in which employees are recognized as individuals and valued for their contributions
  • Increasing the use of technology to maximize efficiency and effectiveness

Electronic Claims Processing

The Kentucky DDS processes the majority of claims electronically.

Some benefits of processing claims electronically include:

  • Disability decisions are processed in a more timely manner
  • More cost effective processing enables more than one individual in the determination process to simultaneously view and work a case
Explanation of Disability

Many types of disability programs are administered by the state and federal governments. Each program has its own requirements for determining disability. For example, some programs may pay for partial or short-term disability. Social Security does not.

Adult Definition - Social Security defines disability as the inability to work due to a physical or mental impairment(s) which has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or result in death. Inability to work includes not only work performed previously, but any kind of work.

Child Definition - Social Security defines a child as disabled who has physical or mental impairment(s) so severe that it results in marked and severe functional limitations. The impairment(s) must last or be expected to last for at least 12 months or result in the child's death.

To determine if you are disabled, we must have information from medical sources such as doctors, hospitals or clinics. Sometimes, it may be necessary for you to attend a special examination which we schedule and pay for.

Types of Social Security Disability Programs

The following programs may be available to people who have been determined to have a disability:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Social Security Disability Insurance provides monetary and medical benefits for people found to be disabled who have also met the non-disability requirements of contributing to the Social Security Trust Fund through taxes on their earnings.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monetary and medical benefits to adults and children who are blind or disabled and who have also met the non-disability income and resources requirements.

Medicaid (Medical Assistance)
Medicaid provides health care benefits for people with disabilities who meet the programs' financial requirements.

How are Disability Decisions Made?

If you apply for coverage under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, your claim will first be reviewed by the Social Security Administration to determine if non-disability eligibility requirements are met. If so, your application is then sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS).

  • DDS collects medical evidence from your doctors, clinics and hospitals along with other information about your condition.
  • You may be asked to provide additional information.
  • You may also be asked to have a medical examination, free of charge, which will help DDS make a decision.
  • Disability adjudicators and medical professionals at DDS evaluate the evidence to decide if you are disabled under the SSA disability rules.
  • If you fail to provide requested additional information or do not attend a required medical examination, DDS may not have enough evidence to make a disability decision, which could mean that your application will be denied. 


For more information about disability requirements and how to apply, please call your local Social Security Office.

Find the Social Security office nearest to you.

Medical Review

The Medical Review Team is located at the Disability Determination Services office. Medical Review Team members are responsible for determining medical eligibility for two state public assistance programs: KTAP (Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program) Incapacity and Medicaid-only disability claims.

Applications for these benefits programs are filed though the local field offices of the Department for Community Based Services (DCBS), Family Support Division. A DCBS Family Support office is located in each Kentucky county. Individuals often refer to this office as the food stamps office.

Find your local DCBS office


Job Opportunities, Medical Consultants

Looking for an opportunity to use your medical skills to make a difference outside the hospital and your office?

We are looking for talented medical professionals open to adding a new path to their distinguished careers touching the lives of people nationwide.

We have
opportunities with flexible days, hours and locations nationwide.

More details


Last Updated 2/2/2017