Once your application is submitted to the social security office, it is first reviewed there, to see if you may qualify for disability benefits. Social security looks at factors like your age, how long you've worked, and how recently you worked. If you're a family member applying for benefits, they'll confirm your relationship to the worker. Next, your application is sent to the disability determination services, or dds, office in your state. The dds decides whether you are disabled under current social security law. Your case is examined by a dds team, consisting of a physician or psychologist, and a disability evaluation specialist. They will study the medical evidence from doctors, hospitals and other institutions where you've been treated. In some cases, the dds may request additional medical information. If it is not available, you may need to return to your doctor, for a special exam called a consultative examination. Social security will pay for the exam and any other medical tests you may need.