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Mental Disability Psychologists

4627 Spruce Street (Suite 1)

Philadelphia, PA 19139-4542

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Disability at

the DDS



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A. Let me give you a big mouth full. There’s one of us, along with a physician and a disability specialist, who comprises the decision-making team at the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Teams like this are in all 50 states and the U.S. territories. Psychologists pass judgment on cases of mental disability which come before the DDS.


Q. Well, what does your profession do?

Others of us as independent practitioners conduct free consultative examinations (CE), paid by Social Security, of applicants and claimants at the request of the DDS, when it needs more medical evidence for diagnosis, prognosis, and so forth. We also have those of us, who provide medical proof as treating psychologists for our own patients and furnish documents to the DDS. We also do re-evaluations needed by claimants already on SSDI and SSI who must submit proof periodically.

For Social Security, we administer mental tests in determining IQ scores for mental retardation, especially children. And speaking of children, you’d find psychologists working with kids who have a learning disability, which comes under SSI. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) falls within the Social Security list along with many mental impairments prevalent also to adults. Include bad behavior, too.

Q. Let’s make it clear for everybody, do psychologists, as doctors, treat patients?

A. Well, that “doctor” title is not for medical doctor. By that I mean not a physician, but a professional with an academic degree beyond the master’s degree–and a university’s highest earned scholarly degree.

Q. How abut explaining that a little more?

A. Bear with me. We treat patients with psychotherapy or counsel them generally in offices, clinics, and mental hospitals. They have a variety of mental disorders. And emotional problems affect medical/physical ills. Some of us do marriage counseling. Others work in industrial settings and prison facilities. Group sessions are part of our agenda. Often we treat emotionally stressed people. We are licensed professionals, also.

Now in my case it’s a Doctorate in Education, Ed.D., which means as psychological educators we specialize in “teaching” and treating patients and clients so they learn to do things differently. Across the nation about 80 universities award doctorates like mine in rehabilitation psychology.



Q. Speaking of teaching, what about yours?

A. Penn State, Temple University in two departments: School of Business Administration in Marketing and School of Theater & Communications in Journalism, Drexel University (while an Institute), Cheyney University (then a college), Philadelphia College of Pharmacy & Science (now University of the Sciences), Antioch Putney, Stockton State College, and St. Joseph’s College (before a university). That’s instructor to adjunct professor, while simultaneously maintaining a private practice– and market research as a consultant with clients such as my nationwide communications study for AT&T. Still, I teach people how to get Social Security.