Disability determinations are made by the Iowa Disability Determination Services (DDS), part of Iowa Workforce Development (IWD)

DDS works with those who apply for and receive disability benefits from Social Security Administration (SSA). 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

Our DDS staff have been recognized by the SSA for processing more than 33,000 claims a year while maintaining an impressive 97.9% accuracy rate!

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

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Applying for Benefits

Iowans with physical or mental impairments apply for benefits directly to the SSA. Those applications are then forwarded to DDS by the SSA.

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

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The Determination Process

We obtain evidence from your medical sources.

If needed, our staff arranges for a consultative medical examination to obtain additional information 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. 

DDS determines if an applicant is disabled according to federal criteria. The rules and regulations are set by Congress to assess the requirements for disability.

See Disability Determination Process Flow Chart

Disability Determination Process Flow Chart Text Version 

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Expedited Claim Processing for Severe Disabilities

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.

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Appeal a Decision

If you are determined ineligible for SSI or SSDI benefits, 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:

Note: An appeal cannot be initiated by contacting DDS.

Appeal a Decision

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DDS Contact

Iowa Disability Determination Services
535 SW 7th St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
(800) 532-1223
Fax Inquiries: (515) 725-0900
Fax to Submit Evidence of Disability: (866) 536-9702

Find Your Local Social Security Field Office

Report Fraud

SSA developed the Cooperative Disability Investigations (CDI) Program to prevent fraud in its disability programs and related federal and state programs. SSA Office of Operations and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) manage the program.

Report Fraud Online

Social Security Fraud Hotline
Office of Inspector General
P.O. Box 17785
Baltimore, MD 21235
(800) 269-0271 or (866) 501-2101 (TTY)

Contact a Professional Relations Officer

The DDS Professional Relations Officer serves as point of contact regarding Social Security disability programs in Iowa. They provide presentations to health professionals about how medical information is used to evaluate disabilities, recruit health professionals to become consultative examination providers, assist consultants in using SSA's Electronic Records Express (ERE) and much more.

Professional Relations Officer
535 SW 7th St.
Des Moines, IA 50309
(800) 532-1223

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