Disability Determinations in Florida
When Florida citizens apply for disability benefits, the Division of Disability Determinations makes decisions regarding the medical eligibility of the applicant. The benefits applied for may be under the state Medically Needy program or the federal Social Security and Supplemental Security Income programs. It conducts reviews of current and existing beneficiaries of the federal programs and their continuing eligibility.
The third largest state disability determinations service in the nation is that of Florida’s. They process roughly 6% of the national workload yearly. The Florida Department of Health, Division of Disability Determinations accomplished decisions on 230,003 federal and 15,231 Medically Needy claims. They are given about $93 million in budget for the 819 filled state employee positions. Employees are assigned to offices in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Pensacola.
Applications for disability benefits are filed either at the claimant’s local Social Security field office or at a local office of the Department of Children and Families. Applications should be filed at the Social Security field office when applying for disability benefits under the Social Security Act. On the other hand, when seeking benefits under the Medically Needy program, applications should be filed at the office of the Department of Children and Families. These applications are then forwarded to the Division of Disability Determinations in order for them to determine the medical eligibility of the applicants. After this, the claim is then returned to either office for a final determination of non-medical eligibility. The benefits due to the claimant are then considered effective.
The Division of Disability Determinations is made up of 5 units:
This unit determines and assures the accuracy of claims. It undergoes the following process: Internal claim review, federal review data and analysis, Disability Quality Branch claim rebuttal, special studies when indicated, area office liaison with adjudicators concerning adjudicative policies.
Bureau of Medical Disability Program Operations
The case processing activities are directed and coordinated by this unit to eight area offices, seven of which administer the federal program and one administers the state program. This is done to ensure efficient workflow and effective production as the state and federation mandated.
Bureau of Medical Disability Administrative Services
This unit administers support functions through the following sections: budget, facilities management, finance and accounting, personnel, and safety and security.
Bureau of Medical Disability Information Services
This unit is responsible for the optimal utilization of technology in supporting the mission of the Division of Disability Determinations. It oversees and manages all information technology functions in support of the processing of disability cases.
Bureau of Medical Disability Program Services
This unit is responsible for disseminating information regarding the division’s policies and procedures. It also coordinates and provides training activities. It is responsible for activities involving external parties who provide services to the division or for whom the division provides services or information.