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Disabled Massachusetts residents have several options for seeking Social Security benefits and financial assistance. The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) is a state agency that works under the federal Social Security Administration (SSA) to implement Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Working under the Massachusetts Commission, the Disability Determination Services (DDS) evaluates all applications to determine what disability services are awarded.
Massachusetts also offers disability benefits at the state level with programs such as MassHealth (Medicaid), CHIP, and unemployment services. These services can cover children, students, adults, and seniors with and without disabilities.
Facts About Massachusetts
About one in four Massachusetts residents have some sort of disability, but only a fraction of those are receiving SSDI benefits or other state-run assistance or compensation services.
Currently, approximately 4.5% of people with a physical or developmental disability receive disability payments from the SSA. The majority of Massachusetts’ disabled population suffers from cognitive disabilities such as autism or a brain injury, followed closely by those with mobility issues.
The state currently spends around 37% of its healthcare resources on those with disabilities. Find out today if you can qualify for these programs to take advantage of these essential human services.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Massachusetts
Criteria for qualifying Social Security Disability is the same across the country since SSDI is a federally funded program. However, the disability determination is made at the state level. Roughly half of all first-time applications will be denied. There is a process for appealing this decision, but you can improve your chances by ensuring upfront that you meet all the requirements.
Social Security disability benefits are reserved for workers who have worked long enough (earned enough “credits”) to pay into the Social Security tax system. Your disability must be considered “severe” enough to limit your ability to work for at least 12 months.
A list of conditions can be found here. Your condition must be found on this list to qualify for benefits, and it is strongly recommended you consult this list before applying. It also must be determined that you cannot reasonably switch over to another line of employment.
It should be noted that by law an employer is required to make any reasonable accommodation to help you complete your job since you are protected from disability discrimination in the workplace.
How To Apply for SSDI in Massachusetts
Applications for SSDI in Massachusetts must be made to your local Social Security office. You can do this online, over the phone, or in person. There are 30 local offices in the state that can offer assistance. You can apply online at the federal Social Security website, or call (800) 772-1213 for help over the phone. If you wish to apply in person at a Massachusetts office, find your closest location in this list below and call to schedule an appointment.
As an applicant, you will need to prepare documentation and evidence ahead of time to support your disability claim. These include but are not limited to:
- Personal information like Social Security number, birth certificate or permanent residence card, vital information for you, your spouse, and a minor child
- Medical records concerning your disability including contact information for doctors, caseworkers, or clinics. This applies to physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities
- Past and current employment information
How To Appeal a Denial in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, many people will be denied benefits with their first application. The appeals process can be long, with many requests for a hearing taking over a year. It’s important to appeal as soon as you receive a denial. The appeals process is broken up into four levels.
Level 1: Reconsideration – Within 60 days you can request that a new SSA representative review your application.
Level 2: Disability Adjudication – Within 60 days of a denial from reconsideration, you can request a formal hearing with an administrative law judge. This can take upwards of a year. At this hearing, you will likely bring additional documentation and witnesses who can attest to the severity of your disability. You may wish to contact a law firm and consult with a Social Security disability lawyer at this stage.
Level 3: Appeal Council – Within another 60-day window, you have the opportunity to request an Appeals Council review previous decisions. At this stage, you will likely need a disability lawyer to represent you.
Level 4: District Court – This is the last option for appeal. At this level, you will request that a federal district court review the Appeals Court decision. There is only one federal district court in Massachusetts, located in Boston.
More Massachusetts Benefits
Many people who qualify for SSDI will also qualify for SSI benefits. When you apply for SSDI, the SSA will determine concurrently if you are also eligible for SSI. SSI is for disabled adults, blind or disabled children, or those age 65+ with or without disabilities. All applicants must be low income (an individual must be making less than $814 a month in unearned income).
You may also be eligible under the Massachusetts State Supplement Program (SSP) which can add on to SSI payments, or supply payments if your income is too high to receive SSI. Statewide Employment Services (SES) and Project IMPACT are advocacy groups that provide free counseling to those receiving SSI payments. They also ensure those with disabilities have an equal opportunity when getting back into the workforce.
Massachusetts Medicaid (MassHealth) is health insurance available to any person earning less than $17,131 a month. This insurance covers standard doctor and hospital visits, mental health services, pharmacy, and home health among others. Most people who qualify for SSI will qualify for MassHealth.
Those who have lost their job through no fault of their own can apply for Massachusetts unemployment benefits, managed by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance. Any employee who has earned enough income during their base period, who is actively looking for new work, and who is willing and able to take on new work is eligible.
What About Short-Term Disability in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts provides various short-term disability programs to support individuals facing temporary disabilities. As a rule of thumb, Massachusetts provides about 3-6 months of partial pay for temporarily-disabled individuals.
Short-Term Disability Programs in Massachusetts
Massachusetts offers several short-term disability programs, including the Massachusetts State Short-Term Disability Insurance (SDI) program and employer-sponsored disability plans. The Massachusetts SDI program provides income replacement for individuals unable to work due to non-work-related injuries, illnesses, or disabilities.
Employer-sponsored plans vary depending on the employer, providing temporary income replacement during a disability. Eligibility requirements, benefit duration, and payment amounts may differ between programs, emphasizing the importance of reviewing specific program details and consulting with employers or insurance providers.
Applying for Short-Term Disability Benefits
To apply for short-term disability benefits in Massachusetts, individuals must complete an application form and provide relevant medical documentation. This includes medical records, diagnosis details, treatment plans, and work restrictions from healthcare professionals. Some programs may require a waiting period before benefits begin. It is recommended to gather all necessary documentation, thoroughly review the application process, and ensure timely submission to expedite the benefits application.
Massachusetts Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Massachusetts|
|Boston SSA Office||10 Causeway Street Room 148|
Boston, MA 2222
|Springfield SSA Office||70 Bond Street|
Springfield, MA 1104
|Cambridge SSA Office||10 Fawcett St First Flr|
Cambridge, MA 2138
|Roxbury SSA Office||10 Malcolm X Blvd|
Roxbury, MA 2119
|Lynn SSA Office||140 Union Street|
Lynn, MA 1901
|Lowell SSA Office||151 Warren St Ste 300|
Lowell, MA 1852
|Worcester SSA Office||51 Myrtle St|
Worcester, MA 1608
|Pittsfield SSA Office||78 Center St|
Federal Bldg Suite 101
Pittsfield, MA 1201
|New Bedford SSA Office||53 North 6th Street|
Hastings Keith Fed Bld
New Bedford, MA 2740
|Brockton SSA Office||30 Christy Dr|
Brockton, MA 2301
|Fitchburg SSA Office||881 Main St 1st Floor|
Philbin Fed Bldg
Fitchburg, MA 1420
|Lawrence SSA Office||439 S Union St Suite 106A|
Lawrence, MA 1843
|Fall River SSA Office||400 North Main Street|
Fall River, MA 2720
|Holyoke SSA Office||200 High Street 2nd Floor|
Holyoke, MA 1040
|Malden SSA Office||192 Commercial St|
Malden, MA 2148
|Salem SSA Office||35 Congress St Suite 101|
Salem, MA 1970
|Quincy SSA Office||1515 Hancock St Suite 305|
Quincy, MA 2169
|Dorchester SSA Office||115 Freeport St|
Dorchester, MA 2122
|Attleboro SSA Office||106 Pleasant St|
Attleboro, MA 2703
|Haverhill SSA Office||367 Main St|
Haverhill, MA 1830
|Waltham SSA Office||135 Beaver Street Suite 120|
Waltham, MA 2452
|Norwood SSA Office||One Edgewater Drive Suite 102|
Norwood, MA 2062
|Framingham SSA Office||One Clarks Hill Suite 101|
Framingham, MA 1702
|Hyannis SSA Office||100 Independence Dr Suite 4|
Hyannis, MA 2601
|Roslindale SSA Office||4238 Washington St|
Roslindale, MA 2131
|Taunton SSA Office||104 Dean St|
Taunton, MA 2780
|Hanover SSA Office||198 Columbia Rd Ste 1|
Hanover, MA 2339
|Falmouth SSA Office||48 Research Rd|
East Falmouth, MA 2536
|North Adams SSA Office||96 Marshall Street|
North Adams, MA 1247
|Gardner SSA Office||354 Main St Suite 2|
Gardner, MA 1440
Massachusetts Hearing and Appeal Offices
Massachusetts is in Region 1 (Boston), which services Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
|Region 1 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Massachusetts|
|SSA Hearing Office – Boston||10 Causeway Street, Suite 565|
Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Fed Bldg
Boston, MA 02222
|SSA Hearing Office – Boston||One Bowdoin Square 4th Floor|
Boston, MA 02114
|SSA Hearing Office – Lawrence||439 South Union Street Suite 301|
Lawrence, MA 01843
|SSA Hearing Office – Springfield||1441 Main Street Suite 450|
Springfield, MA 01103