TN 1 (05-23)

DI 39572.100 Decentralizing DDS Operations

A. Introduction

This subchapter provides guidelines for the States to evaluate and substantiate the need to decentralize or further decentralize their operations.

B. State funding and decentralization

  • The State, subject to appropriate Federal funding, will determine the location where the disability determination function is to be performed.

  • The State must obtain specific funding approval from SSA before making any commitments to decentralize its operations.

C. Definition of decentralized agency

A decentralized agency is one located in two or more cities or district localities within the physical confines of the State, excluding those offices which strictly separate only the fiscal and administrative functions. Intra-agency or contiguous type operations, or separate offices set up at the request and direction of the SSA to accommodate special procedures or functions such as face-to-face hearing offices, do not meet this definition.

D. Operating policy

1. General decentralization decision making

  1. a. 

    SSA does not promote the decentralization of State agencies.

  2. b. 

    The situation in each State will dictate the decision.

2. Analysis of existing DDS space

  1. a. 

    The State must first examine the possibilities of increased use of present office space or the extension outward of present office space to determine the sufficiency for the DDS's needs.

  2. b. 

    A State may believe smaller units work more efficiently or that an office in a particular geographic area would be reactive to specific or unique problems in that area. Decentralization should be a permanent, well thought-out reorganization.

3. DDS Consultation with SSA

The DDS will consult with their SSA regional disability program administrator before taking any definitive action concerning decentralization.

4. Objectives of DDS decentralization

  1. a. 

    Enhance the disability program.

  2. b. 

    Ensure uniform, quality, and timely decisions at an optimal program cost.

  3. c. 

    Improve service to the public and medical relations.

  4. d. 


    • Accessibility of the DHU office(s) to the general public.

    • Medical resources and staff and the availability of quality nonmedical staff.

    • Operational, management and cost effectiveness.

    • Ability to participate in special or demonstration projects.

    • Quality and timeliness of the product in the entire agency.

  5. e. 

    Expansion of suitable space.

E. Related policy

1. Budgeting request

  1. a. 

    DDS will include the cost of any proposed DDS decentralization in their budget.

  2. b. 

    DDS will not include funding for decentralization in their quarterly spending plans until Federal approval has been obtained. When approved, the cost will be entered in the narrative section.

2. Keeping offices informed

  1. a. 

    The DDS will keep their SSA regional office (RO) informed of progress of the decentralization and of any significant events or problems.

  2. b. 

    RO and Central Office staff (OD) will keep the DDS informed of any systems requirements or changes for the decentralized operation.

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DI 39572.100 - Decentralizing DDS Operations - 05/16/2023
Batch run: 05/16/2023