TN 10 (02-02)

DI 39501.020 Federal/State Relationship

A. Definitions

1. State entities

  • DDS - State Disability Determination Services

  • Parent Agency - the agency immediately above the DDS in the State hierarchy, which participates in management, decisions affecting the DDS

  • State Agency – that agency of a State which has been designated by the State to carry out the disability or blindness determination function. State agency may also denote the parent agency or whatever agency is above the parent agency in the State hierarchy depending on the circumstances.

  • State - any of the 50 States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, or Guam. It includes the State Agency.

2. Federal entities

  • Commissioner – the Commissioner of Social Security or his/her authorized designee

  • SSA – Social Security Administration

B. Policy

Section 221(a) and 1633 of the Social Security Act as amended provides that disability determinations will be made by the State unless it notifies the Commissioner, in writing, of its wishes to no longer make the determinations.

1. Federal/State structure

  • DDS's make determinations based on the law and regulations and on written guidelines issued by SSA.

  • SSA pays 100 percent of necessary costs incurred by the States performing the disability determination function. See DI 39506.001B. for details on what constitutes “necessary costs.”

  • Effective June 1, 1981, DDS's make disability determinations in compliance with regulations containing performance standards and other administrative requirements and procedures relating to the disability determination function.

  • States have the option of administering the program in compliance with SSA's standards or ending their participation in the disability program.

  • The Commissioner may end a State's participation in the disability programs because of failure to meet established standards.

2. Roles and responsibilities for administering SSA's disability programs

  • The Commissioner is responsible for SSA's disability programs and operates under broad delegation from the President.

  • The Associate Commissioner for Disability plans, develops and evaluates policies and guidelines used by State, Federal, or private contract providers which implement the disability provisions of the Social Security Act as amended.

  • The Regional Commissioner (RC) serves as the principal SSA officer at the regional level. The RC manages and directs SSA regional operations in accordance with national standards and policies.

  • The Center for Disability within the SSA regional office coordinates disability activities at the regional level.

3. Implementation of performance standards of regulations

SSA's approach for implementation of the performance standards is directed toward improving the overall administration of disability programs as follows:

  • Establishing administrative requirements that provide the States with management flexibility--while at the same time enabling the Commissioner to carry out his/her program stewardship responsibilities--thus setting up the framework for the Federal/State partnership

  • Setting targeted levels of performance

  • Establishing a threshold level which clearly defines the lowest level of acceptable DDS performance

  • Creating a system of intermediate goals

  • Setting forth actions SSA will take to assure unacceptable performance does not continue.

4. Basic responsibilities of SSA

  • Work with the States to provide and maintain an effective system for processing claims

  • Provide program standards, leadership, liaison, and oversight. SSA will not become involved in the State's ongoing management of the program except when necessary because of inadequate State performance.

  • Review regulations and other written guidelines periodically to insure effective and uniform administration of the disability program

  • Provide training materials--and in some instances--conduct or specify training as required by the regulations

  • Provide the State Agency with funds for necessary costs in making disability determinations based on submitted estimates and available funding.

  • Monitor and evaluate DDS performance

  • Maintain liaison with the medical profession nat