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Social Security Disability Benefits can help disabled Montana residents cover living expenses like food and housing.
These Social Security benefits are provided to assist a person with a physical or mental illness or terminal condition who cannot hold gainful employment due to their functional limitations.
Facts About Montana
The percentage of disabled individuals in Montana is slightly higher than the national average, with almost one out of every three adults having some sort of disability that could qualify them for SSDI (the national average is 25%).
The biggest disability types in Big Sky Country are mobility, cognition, and hearing, followed by a lower percentage of disabled individuals with issues around independent living, self-care, and vision. Around 33% of the healthcare costs in Montana are spent on disability, equating to around $2.6 billion annually.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Montana
To qualify for SSDI, Disability Determination Services will need to see evidence that you have the disability you claimed on your SSDI application. This can be done through furnishing medical records, hospital bills, signed letters from doctors, and undergoing a consultative exam by an SSA-approved doctor.
If you don’t have a specific disability, you can still end up collecting Social Security Disability by showing that you have a low Residual Functional Capacity that prevents you from holding gainful employment.
In addition to the medical component of your SSDI application, you must have paid a sufficient amount of FICA taxes over your working career to qualify to collect SSDI. SSDI is a type of insurance plan that working employees and self-employed individuals pay into as part of their Social Security taxes. If a time comes when you need to exercise a disability claim, the SSA will need to see that you have paid your premiums.
The SSA measures this in work credits, with $1,470 in earnings meriting one work credit with a max of four per year. SSDI applicants need 40 credits, half of which must have been earned in the past year. In some instances, an SSDI applicant can have fewer credits to qualify, especially if they are younger.
A disabled Veteran can also qualify for SSDI, but in addition to filing a Social Security Disability claim, they should also look into VA disability benefits issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs. A disabled Veteran can collect VA benefits and SSDI at the same time.
If you were injured on the job, SSDI may not be an option, but worker’s compensation insurance likely is instead. Workers comp offers short-term disability and long-term disability for the disabled individual, and sometimes their spouse or dependents. However, it’s often best to meet with an SSDI lawyer to see what path forward is best for the beneficiary, financially and otherwise.
How To Apply for SSDI in Montana
The easiest way to apply for SSDI is online at the Social Security Administration website. You can also call 800-772-1213 and apply for SSDI over the phone. You can also apply in person at one of the 9 SSA field office locations throughout Montana.
How To Appeal a Denial in Montana
If your SSDI application is denied, you don’t have to give up. You can request a reconsideration which allows you to submit more evidence. If the reconsideration does not work out, you can request a hearing by an administrative law judge.
If the outcome from the ALJ is undesirable, the next step is to request a disability hearing from the Appeals Council, who may return your case to a different ALJ. Disability adjudication is a process that can take months and sometimes years. SSDI back pay will cover up to 12 months of payment if your case is approved.
To make sure your disability adjudication doesn’t drag out beyond a year, it’s helpful to get an SSDI lawyer to help you. Having an SSDI attorney throughout the application process can increase the chances of your claim being approved.
More Montana Benefits
In addition to SSDI benefits, the SSA operates another program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides financial assistance to low-income Montana residents. To be eligible for SSI, you must be disabled, blind, over the age of 65, and in possession of no more than $2,000 in financial resources for an individual ($3,000 for a couple).
When you apply for SSDI, the SSA will check if you can collect SSI as well. In addition to increasing your benefit payout, SSI gives you access to Medicaid benefits while you wait 2 years for the SSDI-associated Medicare to kick in.
Montana Medicaid is administered by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to low-income individuals and their dependents. The program is jointly funded and administered by federal and state governments.
For Montana residents out of work through no fault of their own, the Montana Department of Labor and Industry provides Montana Unemployment Benefits. These benefits pay a percentage of what a person previously earned in their most recent workplace, to help defray the cost of living expenses until they are back on their feet with a new job.
Montana Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Montana|
|Helena SSA Office||10 W 15th St Suite 1600|
Helena, MT 59626
|Butte SSA Office||2201 Harrison|
Butte, MT 59701
|Billings SSA Office||2900 4th Ave N Room 304|
Billings, MT 59101
|Great Falls SSA Office||2008 23rd St S|
Great Falls, MT 59405
|Missoula SSA Office||3701 American Way|
Missoula, MT 59808
|Kalispell SSA Office||275 Corporate Dr Suite D|
Kalispell, MT 59901
|Bozeman SSA Office||3205 N 27th Avenue|
Bozeman, MT 59718
Montana Hearing and Appeal Offices
Montana is in Region 8 (Denver), which services Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Billings Hearing Office services the following cities in Montana: Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Deer Lodge, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Missoula, and Wolf Point.
|Region 8 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Montana|
|SSA Hearing Office – Billings||2900 Fourth Avenue North|
Billings, MT 59101-1266