The Federal government and not the Disability Determination Services (DDS) is responsible for defending court challenges to disability determinations and related
procedures. The Commissioner is the proper party to such a challenge.
Responsibility for Court Defense
State DDSs will not be responsible for defending in court any determination made or
any procedure for making determinations under the Federal or State regulations.
The exclusive administrative and judicial remedies for these challenges are provided
in section 205(g) , 205(h) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act.
State defendants have only 21 to 60 days to answer complaints, while the Federal government
has 60 days.
Contact the State's own legal counsel and SSA Regional Office immediately if a plaintiffs
attempts to name a State official or employee as a defendant.
The State will generally have to file an answer or request for an extension of time
because of the short State response time. (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule
The State will obtain from the RO the name of the attorney from the SSA who (upon
consultation with the local U.S. Attorney's office) can advise the State attorney
in filing the appropriate response.
NOTE: The Federal attorney will attempt to have the State defendant removed as a party.
The State may request the Federal attorneys to represent the State component if the
State remains a party.
NOTE: In such cases, a statement from the employee requesting such representation as well
as a statement from the employee's supervisor that the State defendant was acting
in his or her official capacity in making the determination will normally be required.
See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 12 for information on filing an answer
or a request for an extension of time.