All DDS employees and contractors, including medical consultants (MCs) or psychological
consultants (PCs), responsible for processing or adjudicating disability cases must
avoid any potential conflict between SSA’s interest and their own personal interests.
In order to avoid potential COI, DDS employees must disqualify themselves in questionable
situations. Disqualified DDS employees must not handle, and are prohibited from accessing,
the applicant’s file. Disqualified employees may help supply information needed to
support a claim, when appropriate.
SSA relies on the public trust of DDS employees. It is the DDS employee’s ethical
obligation to report potential COI as soon as he or she learns of it. It is not the
responsibility of DDS management to monitor employees for potential conflicts.
SSA expects employees to disqualify themselves and alert DDS management to a potential
COI in cases involving a personal acquaintance or family member (whether as a claimant,
provider of medical evidence, or appointed representative). The DDS Administrator
(or designee) may disqualify the DDS from adjudicating a claim involving parent agency
staff or family members of parent agency staff. The disqualification prevents any
perception of a conflict.
DDS employees must disqualify themselves from acting on any official matter that involves:
a personal acquaintance; or
their own Social Security records.