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Disabled Indiana residents who are unable to work can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. They are both federal programs, though elements of their day-to-day administration are carried out at the state level.
In the state of Indiana, the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services oversees the administration of a full range of disability services for Indiana residents with disabilities. This includes vocational rehabilitation services, reasonable accommodation (provided under The Americans With Disabilities Act), and other special education resources.
The purpose of the SSDI and SSI programs in Indiana is to identify residents with disabilities that prevent them from working or fully participating in educational activities.
The state of Indiana and the U.S. federal government seek two important outcomes when administering these programs: First, they want to accurately identify Indiana residents who qualify as disabled according to the SSA’s strict definition. Second, they seek to connect these individuals with the programs and services that help them lead their most productive lives within Indiana communities.
In pursuit of its mission, the division works closely with 26 local Social Security Administration field offices located throughout the state of Indiana, plus collaborating with the SSA at both regional and national levels.
If you think you may qualify for one or both of these programs – or other benefit programs in Indiana – keep reading for everything you need to know about submitting a successful disability claim.
Facts About Indiana
A wide variety of physical, mental, emotional, and developmental disabilities have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of Indiana residents. Roughly 28% of Indiana residents report having a disability of some kind, which equates to one in four Indiana adults.
Disabilities have far-reaching implications for Indiana residents – Indiana adults who report disabilities are more likely to smoke, be obese and report heart disease or diabetes.
These disabilities cost the state of Indiana upwards of $18.7 billion every year, which represents approximately 36% of the state’s overall health care spending – or nearly $17,000 annually per Indiana adult resident with disabilities.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Indiana
The Social Security Disability Insurance program has two primary eligibility requirements.
First is non-medical eligibility – an individual must have worked for enough years to have paid sufficiently into the Social Security system. This allows the applicant to earn an appropriate level of work credits.
For all applicants who have earned sufficient work credits, medical eligibility is the second step in the evaluation process. To be eligible for SSDI, an applicant must also prove a documented disability that meets the SSA’s extremely strict definition.
The disability must prevent the applicant from engaging in any type of gainful activity. Additionally, the disability must be expected to last at least one year or be terminal.
How To Apply for SSDI in Indiana
You can apply for Social Security disability benefits in Indiana through any of the following three ways:
First, you can apply online. When you begin this process, you will be assigned an application number. Keep it in a safe place because you’ll need it at various points throughout the application process. If you lose track of this number, it cannot be reissued and you will have to restart the online application process.
You may also apply in person at any one of 25 SSA field offices across Indiana. It’s also a good idea to call your closest field office in advance to find out whether it requires you to make an appointment before coming in to apply.
The third option is to apply for SSI or SSDI benefits over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available to assist you from Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. You are welcome to handle your application yourself, while some claimants choose to work with a disability lawyer to put together their initial disability claim.
If your case if pending, you can call the Indiana Disability Determination Bureau toll free at 800-622-4968 where you can ask for the Examiner that has been assigned to your claim. Their name and phone number will be on the last page of the documents provided to you by the Disability Determination services.
How To Appeal a Denial in Indiana
Your initial claim for Social Security benefits may be denied. Roughly 68% of disability claims in Indiana are denied upon initial submission.
If your disability claim is denied, you still have two more stages of review: the reconsideration stage and the hearing stage. Upon denial, some applicants may choose to engage a qualified disability attorney to guide them through the remaining stages of the review process.
Upon reconsideration, your claim will be reviewed by a representative who was not involved with the initial evaluation of your claim for disability benefits. You also have the opportunity to share new information or medical evidence to support your claim.
If your case is denied again, you may request a disability hearing with an administrative law judge, who will evaluate whether your disability adjudication was handled appropriately. In Indiana, just over half of the cases that go to a disability hearing are approved.
More Indiana Benefits
In addition to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, Indiana offers a range of programs to help support financial stability for the state’s most vulnerable residents. Below is just a sample.
Supplemental Security Income benefits in Indiana provide financial assistance to low-income Indiana residents who are either over age 65 or are disabled. In Indiana, the amount of SSI benefits for an eligible single person is $771 per month, and the amount for eligible couples is $1,157 per month.
Medicaid in Indiana makes it possible for Indiana residents with low income to access an appropriate level of medical benefits. While the federal government establishes general guidelines for the administration of Medicaid benefits, each state has the latitude to define some eligibility criteria and services covered.
In general, applicants must fulfill the following criteria to be considered eligible for Indiana Medicaid:
- Resident of the state of Indiana
- U.S. citizen or legally authorized non-citizen
- Low or very low income, as compared to the federal poverty level
Most non-disabled adults in Indiana are covered under the Healthy Indiana Plan.
Unemployment insurance benefits in Indiana provide vital financial security for Indiana residents who have lost their employment through no fault of their own.
To be eligible for Indiana unemployment benefits, a worker must be able to show that they are actively looking for work and that they are able, physically and mentally, and available to work when suitable employment is offered. This includes ensuring that all transportation accommodations and child care needs are addressed.