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If you live in Iowa and have a disability, there are several state and federal programs that can provide financial assistance. At the state level, Iowa residents can receive vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment benefits, Medicaid, long-term disability for state employees, as well as help from Iowa’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).
The state also passed the Rehabilitation Act in 1973 protecting the civil rights of minors, prohibiting schools from discriminating against any student with a disability.
There are also disability services at the federal level such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These Social Security disability benefits are funded at the national level but processed at the state level through Iowa Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS processes all SSA disability claims and determines what benefit is awarded.
Facts About Iowa
Approximately 23% of Iowans have some kind of disability. The largest representation of these comes from those with a mobility-related disability (10%) like cerebral palsy or conditions that would require a wheelchair, a cognitive impairment (10%) like dementia or Alzheimer’s, or a hearing-related disability (7%).
Only 4% of residents currently receive Social Security disability benefits, so a substantial number of Iowans go without aid.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Iowa
Social Security Disability is available to all eligible Americans, and requirements are the same from state to state.
There are two main requirements you must meet. The first is that your disability must be considered “severe” and must be listed in the SSA Blue Book. This is a comprehensive list of disabilities that can receive federal monetary aid. If your disability is not listed here, you will not qualify.
Your disabling condition must limit your ability to work for at least 12 months to qualify. It may help to consult the list of severe conditions and check your status with the SSA before applying. Roughly 70% of first-time applicants are denied for not meeting basic requirements.
The second requirement is that you must have been employed long enough to fully pay into the Social Security system. You need at least 10 years of work history, though this requirement can be waived based on your age and the severity of your disability.
Many people who are disabled are still able to work in some capacity. If this is your case, know that there are disability rights Iowa has passed to protect against disability discrimination. By law, employers must make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.
How To Apply for SSDI in Iowa
The SSA handles applications for SSDI benefits. Your application will then be sent to the Iowa DDS, which determines whether you meet the federal criteria.
There are three ways to apply – in person, online, or over the phone. The quickest way to apply is online at the federal Social Security website. Apply by phone by calling (800) 772-1213 to speak with a representative. You may also choose to apply in person at one of Iowa’s 16 Social Security field offices. Contact information for these offices can be found below.
Before submitting a disability claim, prepare the proper documentation that supports your medical condition and verifies your work history. Documents may include:
- Personal information about you, your spouse, and any minor children or adult children with disabilities you care for. They may also ask for social security numbers, birth certificates, or marriage or divorce documents.
- Medical records from doctors, clinics, or services you’ve received that pertain to your disability, be it physical, mental, or developmental disabilities
- Past and current employment information
How To Appeal a Denial in Iowa
Since 70% of initial applications are denied, you should be prepared to begin the appeals process immediately after receiving your determination. There are four levels of appeals, and each must be submitted within 60 days of the preceding denial.
You must go through each stage before moving on to the next.
- Reconsideration – The first level of appeals is called reconsideration. You will not need to provide any new information at this stage. A new DDS representative will review your claim to see if any errors were made. In Iowa, around 80% of reconsideration appeals are denied.
- Disability Adjudication – If your reconsideration was denied, you will likely have more luck with your disability hearing. You will need to bring additional documentation or witnesses who can support your case. The hearing will take place at the Iowa Hearing and Appeal Office in West Des Moines.
- Appeals Council – In the next level of appeal, you can request to have an Appeals Council review the previous two decisions. At this point, many claimants choose to contact a Social Security disability lawyer if they haven’t already.
- District Court – The highest and last level of appeals happens when a federal district court reviews the Appeals Court decision. There are two federal district courts in Iowa, one for Northern districts and one for Southern.
More Iowa Benefits
Like SSDI, SSI is a Social Security assistance program. Supplemental Security Income benefits can be awarded to eligible low-income Iowa residents who are either disabled, blind, or over age 65.
The current monthly SSI payout is $794. You will be notified by the SSA if you qualify for SSI when they review your SSDI application.
Iowa Medicaid is a health insurance program for any individual earning less than $17,131 a year. This is a joint federal and state program run by the Iowa Department of Human Services. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for Medicaid as the income requirements are very similar. Most Medicaid recipients will be covered under the IA Health Link managed care program.
Iowa unemployment benefits are intended for an employee who has found themselves out of work through no fault of their own and needs temporary financial assistance. The best way to apply is online through Iowa Workforce Development. Those who qualify can receive a weekly cash benefit of up to $493 for a limited time.
Iowa Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Iowa|
|Des Moines SSA Office||455 SW 5th St Ste F|
Des Moines, IA 50309
|Davenport SSA Office||4319 N Brady Street|
Davenport, IA 52806
|Sioux City SSA Office||3555 Southern Hills Dr|
Sioux City, IA 51106
|Waterloo SSA Office||3121 Greyhound Dr|
Waterloo, IA 50701
|Ottumwa SSA Office||2429 Northgate St Suite A|
Ottumwa, IA 52501
|Dubuque SSA Office||1635 Associates Dr Suite 101|
Dubuque, IA 52002
|Cedar Rapids SSA Office||3165 Williams Blvd SW Ste 100|
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
|Fort Dodge SSA Office||2315 2nd Ave North|
Fort Dodge, IA 50501
|Mason City SSA Office||625 Village Grn Dr SW|
Mason City, IA 50401
|Burlington SSA Office||3920 Division St|
Burlington, IA 52601
|Creston SSA Office||906 E Taylor St|
Creston, IA 50801
|Carroll SSA Office||818 Bella Vista Dr|
Carroll, IA 51401
|Spencer SSA Office||1610 12th Ave SW|
Spencer, IA 51301
|Coralville SSA Office||1100 6th Street Suite 100|
Coralville, IA 52241
|Marshalltown SSA Office||2502 South 2nd Street|
Marshalltown, IA 50158
|Ames SSA Office||2615 University Blvd|
Ames, IA 50010
Iowa Hearing and Appeal Offices
Iowa is in Region 7 (Kansas City), which services Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Missouri.
The West Des Moines Hearing Office services the cities of Ames, Burlington, Carroll, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Creston, Decorah, Des Moines,
Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, and Waterloo.
|Region 7 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Iowa|
|SSA Hearing Office – West Des Moines||1501 50th Street|
Regency West, Bldg 1, Ste 300
West Des Moines, IA 50266