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Rhode Island offers several programs to its residents who need disability services. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are both federal programs, though they are administered by state agencies.
Applications for these benefits are processed by Rhode Island’s Office of Rehabilitation Services and are approved or rejected by the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Both offices are run by the Rhode Island Department of Human Services.
Rhode Islanders also have access to a state-run short-term program, Rhode Island TDI (Temporary Disability Insurance) as well as Medicaid, rehabilitation services, and unemployment assistance.
Facts About Rhode Island
Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the country, but it’s still home to over 250,000 residents with a disability. Unfortunately, not everyone is granted access to the disability programs available.
The chances of having your disability application approved the first time are about 38% in Rhode Island, so many must go through the appeals process. The good news is that Rhode Island typically has a faster turnaround time for granting aid than the rest of the country.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Rhode Island
All SSDI applications are processed and determined by state agencies, even though SSDI is a federally-run program. Before you apply, you should understand the basics for qualifying, which is the same from state to state. Know that even if you meet all the requirements, you are not guaranteed benefits.
Qualified applicants must first show that they have sufficient work history and have paid into the Social Security tax system. Many people with disabilities may not be able to hold a job, or at least not full-time employment.
The purpose of SSDI is to help those with disabilities severe enough to impact their ability to work for at least 12 months. Before applying, consult this list compiled by the SSA to ensure your disability is on it. Known as the Blue Book, the list contains all conditions considered “severe” and covers everything from mental illness to cerebral palsy to blindness. Your condition can be an intellectual, physical, or developmental disability.
If you are still working in some capacity, you are protected by law against discrimination by your employer. As an employee, you are entitled to any “reasonable accommodations” to assist you in completing your basic job functions.
How To Apply for SSDI in Rhode Island
There are a few ways to apply for Social Security Disability: online, in person, or over the phone. Your application must be submitted to the Social Security Administration (SSA).
There are a few essential documents you should gather before applying. To receive Social Security disability benefits, you should be prepared to show the following:
- Basic personal information about you, your spouse, and any minor children. This could be names, ages, places of birth, or marriage and divorce records
- Military records if you served
- If you’re currently employed, you will need the name and contact information of your employer
- Direct deposit information from your bank account
- Names and contact information of personal references who can speak to your disability
- Medical records pertaining to your physical, developmental, or mental health
- Job and education history
The fastest way to apply for SSDI benefits is online at SSA.gov. You can apply in person at one of Rhode Island’s five Social Security field offices, or call the federal Social Security office directly at 800-772-1213. Your application will be reviewed by the DDS, which makes a formal determination.
How To Appeal a Denial in Rhode Island
About 62% of applicants have their initial application denied. This doesn’t mean you should give up, only that it will take a little more legwork to work through the appeals process.
Appeals Level 1: Reconsideration – The first level of appeals is called reconsideration. Within 60 days of your initial denial, you can request that a new representative review your application who was not involved in the first determination.
Appeals Level 2: Disability Hearing – If your reconsideration was also denied, a claimant can request a hearing within 60 days. At the hearing, you will present your case to an administrative law judge. There is only one Hearing and Appeals Office in Rhode Island, located in Providence that can be reached at (877) 583-4082.
At this hearing, you’ll likely bring more documents to support your claim. Some claimants choose to employ an attorney at this stage.
Appeals Level 3: Appeals Council – The third level of appeals is to the Social Security Appeals Council. Submit your claim within 60 days online.
Appeals Level 4: Federal Court – Your last step in this process is to file a lawsuit with the district federal court in Rhode Island, also located in Providence.
More Rhode Island Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal insurance program designed for people with low income who are also disabled or over age 65. SSI is available to any Rhode Island resident, but applicants must meet specific requirements. Typically, you must be disabled, blind, or over the age of 65 to qualify. SSI benefits are automatically awarded to those who qualify for Medicaid.
The Rhode Island Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) program is a short-term disability insurance program. TDI benefits are intended for those who have a temporary disability or illness who need to take time off work. The program also covers Temporary Caregiver Insurance (TCI) for qualified applicants to receive up to four weeks of skilled caregiver benefits. These TCI benefits can be used to take care of an ill spouse, domestic partner, child, or other family member, or to bond with a new child.
To receive disability benefits for lost wages you must be unable to work due to a non-work related illness or injury. These temporary disability benefits can also be used after maternity leave to bond with a newborn, foster, or adopted child.
Qualifying workers can receive a weekly benefit to replace missing wages with a maximum rate of $887.00 calculated as a portion of your previous base pay. Disabled veterans are under slightly different income requirements. The longest you can collect these benefits is 30 weeks.
Rhode Island Medicaid
Rhode Island Medicaid is an aid program run jointly by the federal and state government. This program provides medical insurance benefits to those with limited income and is not limited to individuals with disabilities. Those who are pregnant, blind, caring for a minor child, 65 and older, or are caring for someone with a disability can also qualify.
Rhode Island Unemployment
The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training oversees Rhode Island unemployment benefits. This program provides temporary financial help to eligible Rhode Island workers as they seek new employment.
The program is available to any worker who has lost their job through no fault of their own, has worked enough hours in the base period, and is willing to accept new work. The maximum weekly benefit is currently $599, but you may be granted a dependency allowance if you have children under the age of 18.
Rhode Island Vocational Rehabilitation
Rhode Island also operates a Vocational Rehabilitation Program, which provides services to Rhode Island residents with disabilities to choose, prepare for, and maintain employment.
Rhode Island Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Rhode Island|
|Providence SSA Office||One Empire Plaza 6th Floor|
Providence, RI 2903
|Woonsocket SSA Office||2168 Diamond Hill Road|
Woonsocket, RI 2895
|Pawtucket SSA Office||4 Pleasant St|
Pawtucket, RI 2860
|Warwick SSA Office||30 Quaker Lane 1st Floor|
Warwick, RI 2886
|Newport SSA Office||130 Bellevue Ave 1st Floor|
Newport, RI 2840
Rhode Island Hearing and Appeal Offices
Rhode Island is in Region 1 (Boston), which services Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The Rhode Island Hearing Office services the following cities in Rhode Island and Massachusetts: Newport RI, Pawtucket RI, Providence RI, Warwick RI, Woonsocket RI, Attleboro MA, Fall River MA, Taunton MA, and New Bedford MA.
|Region 1 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Rhode Island|
|SSA Hearing Office – Providence||33 Broad Street 4th Floor|
Providence, RI 2903