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Social Security Disability Insurance is a form of public assistance for beneficiaries who have a developmental disability, mental disability, or terminal illness that prevents them from working for at least 12 months.
The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) which has thousands of field offices across the United States.
Facts About Alaska
Alaska has plenty of disabled individual residents living in the Last Frontier. About one in every four adults has a disease or disability that would qualify them for Social Security disability benefits.
Mobility, cognition, independent living, hearing, vision, and self care are the biggest disability-related issues for SSDI recipients in Alaska. SSDI payments can help defray the cost of these individuals obtaining the health care and personal care they need to go about normalizing their day.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Alaska
Alaska residents wishing to qualify for SSDI payments will have to show that they are medically eligible, which includes providing proof of a disability as part of their SSDI claim. Medical records, letters from healthcare providers, hospital bills, and other forms of documentation will need to be packaged as part of their SSDI application.
Sometimes, it helps to work with an SSDI lawyer so that your initial application is approved. An estimated 54% of applications are dismissed, so working with an SSDI attorney can improve your chances of getting approved without even having to go through disability adjudication. If you do need to file an appeal, having an SSDI lawyer working with you already will certainly help.
SSDI applicants also need to show that they have paid a sufficient amount of Social Security taxes. An individual needs 40 credits to be considered sufficiently paid up on FICA taxes to collect SSDI, and half of those credits must have been earned in the past decade.
Fortunately, earning the credits is relatively easy, since $1,470 in earnings will obtain one work credit. If an applicant is good to go on both the medical and non-medical (that is, work-related) components of their SSDI application, they will likely be approved by the SSA for benefits.
You might be wondering what happens if you do not have a specific disability, but you have a variety of factors that prevent you from holding gainful employment despite reasonable accommodation in the workplace. If you can document that you have a low Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), or in other words, impairment in the area of normal work functions – issues concentrating, chronic back pain, for example – you can also get your SSDI application approved.
How To Apply for SSDI in Alaska
Despite Alaska’s massive size, there are just 3 SSA field offices in Alaska – one in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Juneau. That means that many Alaska residents will have to use the Social Security Administration website or call 1-800-772-1213 to apply.
Residents of these three cities may also benefit from using the phone service or applying online. Sometimes, there can be a wait time at the actual SSA office.
How To Appeal a Denial in Alaska
If your SSDI application is denied, don’t give up. You can request a redetermination, which allows you to submit more evidence. If that doesn’t work, you can appear before an administrative law judge (ALJ) to discuss your case. You can schedule a virtual appointment so you don’t have to make a trek to the Disability Determination Services Alaska Office.
The ALJ will be able to reassign your SSDI claim to another disability examiner. If this does not work, you can request a hearing by the Appeals Council, who will discuss your case and possibly assign it to another ALJ.
As a final option of the appeals process, there is the US federal court system, but the likelihood of your case going there is slim. An SSDI attorney can also help you explore alternative options such as worker’s compensation or SSI.
More Alaska Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a monthly benefit payment for low-income individuals with limited financial resources – under $2,000 per person and $3,000 per couple. SSI is only available for individuals who are blind, disabled, or over the age of 65. However, if you applied for SSDI, you may be able to get SSI as well.
SSDI payments are based on your previous income during the years when you were paid the most. It may be that you already maximize your benefits and SSI won’t be available. However, if you do qualify for SSI as well, you can increase your benefits by another few hundred dollars. Additionally, it takes two years for Medicare to kick in for SSDI recipients, while Medicaid is given to SSI recipients right away. If you get SSI on top of your SSDI, you will have no gaps in your healthcare coverage.
Speaking of Medical Assistance, Alaska Medicaid is issued by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services for low-income individuals who do not have health insurance and can’t afford their own policy. You can apply online right from the Alaska DHSS website. The DHSS can also let you know if you are available for other programs like TANF cash assistance or SNAP food stamps.
If you are unemployed through no fault of your own, you can collect Alaska Unemployment Benefits until you are back on your feet financially. Unemployment compensation pays a portion of your most recent income, so it’s always a good idea to look into other financial and social services like SNAP, Medicaid, and rent assistance.
Alaska Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Alaska|
|Juneau SSA Office||709 W 9th St Room 231|
PO Box 21327
Juneau, AK 99802
|Anchorage SSA Office||222 W 8th Ave Room A11|
Anchorage, AK 99513
|Fairbanks SSA Office||101 12th Ave Room 138|
Fairbanks, AK 99701
Alaska Hearing and Appeal Offices
Alaska is in Region 10 (Seattle), which services Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
The Anchorage Hearing Office services the cities of Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, and Ketchikan.
|Region 10 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Alaska|
|SSA Hearing Office – Anchorage||188 W Northern Lights Blvd Ste 610|
Anchorage, AK 99503