Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) Bias Investigation Project


The Social Security Administration (SSA) contracted with Abt Associates to perform a research study to investigate if there was unintended inequity within the Quick Disability Determinations (QDD) process. QDD is an SSA fast-track process that uses predictive modeling to screen initial applications to identify cases where a favorable disability determination is highly likely and medical evidence is readily available.

SSA conducted this study in support of Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The study investigated whether the QDD process revealed evidence of bias among groups of disability applicants by race, ethnicity, sex, age or medical condition by analyzing external and SSA disability program data.


The study concluded in Fiscal Year 2023.

Key Activities and Design

We examined the data used in the QDD process to determine if there are analytical biases in the model. The study consisted of two analysis phases -- phase one examined whether there were differences in QDD identification rates, and phase two examined possible explanations for the differences.


The study was unable to conclusively identify whether differences observed among various disability applicant groups reflected bias within the QDD process. In particular, Abt Associates concluded that because the QDD process begins with the claimant’s completed application, the QDD process itself is not the source for such differences. Abt presented various options for SSA’s consideration to address the discovered differences.


Select QDD Bias Investigation to view an Executive Summary of the study.

Related Links

For more information about QDD please visit Social Security Online - Disability Projects QDD (ssa.gov).

For information about the SSA's Fast-Track processes please visit Social Security Online - Disability Projects Fast Track (ssa.gov).