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Vermont residents seeking disability benefits can access aid through two federal programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs give financial support to individuals in the form of monthly compensation.
Funding comes from the federal government, though eligibility is evaluated at the state level. In Vermont, this is handled by the agency of Disability Determination Services (DDS) under the Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF).
In addition to federal services, Vermont residents can qualify for state unemployment benefits, Medicaid, or workers’ compensation. Help is available to get back into the workforce through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. If you’re a veteran or on active duty service, you may also qualify for veterans benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Vermont has three Social Security offices located in Burlington, Rutland, and Montpelier as well as one Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) in Manchester, NH.
Facts About Vermont
Around 22% of Vermont residents have a disability, which is below the national average. Still, only 5% of residents are receiving Vermont Social Security disability payments.
Those with the most need have a developmental disability or other mental health condition, followed by those with a physical disability that affects mobility. Vermont residents with a disability should apply for any program they may qualify for as most health care plans fall short of supplying complete disability assistance.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Vermont
No matter where you live in the United States, the requirements to qualify for Social Security disability benefits are the same. To be considered for the program, you generally must meet two requirements.
First, your disability must be considered severe enough to limit your ability to work for at least 12 months or end in death. To determine this, the SSA has compiled a comprehensive list of impairments it will approve for benefits. Though it’s possible to gain an exception if your condition is not on the list, it is far more likely that you’ll qualify if it is listed.
The second requirement is that you must have been employed long enough to have adequately paid into the Social Security program. For most people, this means 10 full years of employment, though waivers are available to those with special needs who have never been able to work because of their disability.
How To Apply for SSDI in Vermont
There are three main ways to file for Social Security Disability: online, over the phone, or in person.
The most efficient way for an applicant to submit their claim is online through the federal Social Security website. If you’d rather speak with someone directly, you can call the federal Social Security office at 800-772-1213, or apply in person at your closest Vermont office. If you choose to visit an office, you’ll need to call ahead to make an appointment.
You will also need to prepare supporting information and documentation ahead of time to include along with your application. Be prepared to supply personal information about you, your spouse, and any minor children, and have copies of marriage and divorce documents, school records, as well as any military records for disabled veterans applying for aid.
Lastly, you’ll need medical records detailing your past health care and any doctors or clinics that have provided services related to your disability.
How To Appeal a Denial in Vermont
Vermont state has a rather high initial approval rate of 44% compared with the national average of 35%. Still, that means that 56% of applicants will be denied after submitting their disability application. Because of this, there is a set method for appealing the decision. These steps must be taken in order and each must be initiated within 60 days of the preceding denial.
The first and easiest step is to request to have a new SSA representative from DDS reconsider your claim to make a revised determination. Approximately 21% of applications will receive approval at this stage.
The next step is to request a disability adjudication with an administrative law judge. Your hearing will be scheduled at your closest SSA Hearing Office, but this can take up to a year to get an appointment. You will likely need to bring additional documentation or witnesses and many people choose to hire a lawyer at this point. However, over half of the applications are approved after the hearing stage.
Those who still wish to press for benefits must now request the Social Security Appeals Council review your case. The main job of the council is to review the lower decisions to see if an error was made.
The last option is to appeal to the district federal court. At this point, you will need an attorney to help file your claim.
More Vermont Benefits
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another disability program run by the SSA. Like SSDI, SSI will grant monthly cash benefits for Vermont residents, but you do not necessarily have to have a disability to qualify. SSI benefits are reserved for low-income individuals who are either blind, disabled, or over the age of 65. If you are over age 65, you do not need to have a disability to qualify for SSI.
Any person who qualifies for SSI in Vermont will automatically qualify for Vermont Medicaid, commonly called Green Mountain Care. Once you are approved for SSI you will get a separate letter of acceptance from Medicaid outlining your benefits. Green Mountain Care provides free or extremely low-cost health care to residents with low incomes.
Vermont Unemployment benefits provide temporary benefits for up to 26 weeks for workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. The program is run through Vermont’s Department of Labor and is funded entirely by employer contributions to the unemployment insurance trust fund. The maximum weekly benefit is currency $531.
Vermont Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Vermont|
|Burlington SSA Office||128 Lakeside Ave Suite 107|
Burlington, VT 05401
|Rutland SSA Office||246 West St|
Rutland, VT 05701
|Montpelier SSA Office||33 School St|
Montpelier, VT 05602
Vermont Hearing and Appeal Offices
Vermont is in Region 1 (Boston), which services Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Vermont hearings are held in Manchester, NH.
|Region 1 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations|
|SSA Hearing Office – Manchester||1750 Elm Street|
Manchester, NH 3104