The majority of Social Security disability claims in Arkansas are initially processed through a network of local Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices located in several cities throughout Arkansas and the Disability Determination Services (DDS) located in Little Rock. Successive appeals of unfavorable determinations may be decided at DDS or by an administrative law judge in SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.
Arkansas Social Security representatives in the local field offices usually take initial applications for disability benefits by telephone, mail, in person or you can file online. The initial application and associated forms ask for a description of the claimant’s medical condition, treatment sources, medications and other information such as work history that relates to the alleged disability.
The local field office is responsible for confirming non-medical eligibility requirements, which include but are not limited to age, employment, marital status, or Social Security coverage information. The local field office then sends the case to Little Rock, Arkansas DDS for evaluation of the alleged disability.
The DDS is a State agency responsible for developing medical evidence and making the initial determination on whether or not a claimant is disabled or blind under the law.
Usually, the DDS tries to gather evidence from the claimant’s own medical sources first. If that evidence is unavailable or insufficient to make a determination, the DDS will arrange for a consultative examination (CE) to obtain the additional information needed. After completing the development of the evidence, trained staff at DDS makes the initial disability determination.
Then, the DDS returns the case to the field office for appropriate action. If the DDS found that the claimant is disabled, SSA completes any outstanding non-disability development, computes the benefit amount, and begins paying benefits. If the claimant was found not to be disabled, the file is kept in the field office in case the claimant decides to appeal the determination.