Interested in Louisiana disability benefits? First, let’s enjoy some fun facts about this unique state. Louisiana is famous for both its culture and food: Mardi Gras, jazz, gumbo, beignets, king cake, and jambalaya. People flock to experience the French Quarter, the National WWII Museum, and to take swamp tours. Named after France’s King Louis XIV, it’s also the only state with parishes instead of counties.
Louisiana has an approximate population of 4,624,047 people, making it the 25th most populated state in the country. Of those 4,624,047 people, approximately 33% (or one in three) have some type of disability. Among them, just 5.88% receive Louisiana disability benefits.
Who Qualifies for Louisiana Disability Benefits?
If you have health issues or a disability that prevent you from working, you might be eligible for Louisiana disability benefits. Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both programs, including payments. Each program is slightly different, but both pay Louisiana disability benefits to qualified applicants. See details about each program and what’s necessary to qualify below.
Option #1 for Louisiana Disability Benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
What Is SSI?
SSI is most restrictive federal program that pays Louisiana disability benefits. This option is only available for people who are blind, disabled, and/or age 65 or older.
While both SSI and SSDI benefits require medical examinations to qualify if you’re younger than 65, SSI also has financial eligibility rules. This Louisiana disability benefit only goes to the poorest people with the fewest financial assets.
If you are 65 years old or older, then you automatically qualify medically for SSI. Not yet 65? Then you must also meet the SSI program’s medical qualifications.
How Much Does SSI Pay In Louisiana Disability Benefits?
SSI’s financial requirements are strict. If you are working, your monthly income cannot be more than $1,350 per month. If not working, you must still disclose all forms of income, including money you get from other sources. These could include things like alimony, dividends, child support, and other federal and/or state benefits.
You will also have to disclose how much money is in your bank account. That’s because the SSI program says you can have no more than $2,000 in available cash on hand. Even with a low bank account balance, the SSA reviews all your assets to determine their worth. If you have jewelry or other valuables you can sell for cash, for instance, that could count against you.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you own your house and the land it’s on, then that won’t count toward your available resources. The same is true of one vehicle, your wedding ring, clothing, and appliances or furniture that you use in your daily life.
Unlike SSDI, this Louisiana disability benefit is a fixed amount no matter how much money you earned during your working years. If approved, you will receive $841 if you’re single. However, a married couple can receive no more $1,261 total per month. This monthly SSI pay amount is an increase over previous years. That said, increases aren’t guaranteed to happen every year. 2022 was unique because of an unusually high increase in the Consumer Price Index.
Option #2 for Louisiana Disability Benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
What Is SSDI?
SSDI began in January of 1956. The program’s goal involves helping people who are too sick or disabled to work, but can’t yet qualify for Social Security payments.
SSDI, while not as difficult to receive as SSI, does have specific rules to qualify for Louisiana disability benefits:
1. You must have a work history of at least 5-10 years in jobs that withheld Social Security payroll taxes.
2. A doctor must state on paper that your health problems prevent you from working a minimum of 12 months.
3. You must have had regular medical examinations and doctor’s visits within the past year. If you’ve been unable to establish this paper trail via your medical records, you must attend a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to confirm your disability status. If you’ve skipped doctors’ visits because you cannot afford them, a Louisiana disability attorney may cover fees for doctor’s visits and medical records. This is just one advantage of working with a Social Security attorney.
4. You must not currently receive any Social Security benefits, such as survivor’s, spousal, early or regular retirement. This is because Louisiana disability benefits from the SSDI program automatically convert to regular Social Security. Federal law makes this switch happen automatically when anyone reaches Full Retirement Age (FRA). It’s also illegal to draw both SSDI and regular Social Security at the same time.
How Long Does It Take to Get SSDI in Louisiana?
It can take a significant amount of time to start receiving SSDI payments. Not only that, but the paperwork and processing can also take several months. Plus, federal law requires a five-month waiting period before you can receive Louisiana disability payments after claim approval. With all that in mind, you’re potentially going a long time without income.
The average Louisiana disability case can take upwards of five months to process. If denied, filing a reconsideration (your first appeal) can add several more months to your wait time. These times vary depending on individual circumstances and some factors that are out of your control, like how many other people file claims and if there are worker shortages.
There are things you can control, however, such as choosing to work with an attorney. Studies show that a Louisiana disability attorney can greatly improve your chances of benefit approval right away. This eliminates the need to file for reconsideration so you’ll have the money you need sooner.
How Much Does SSDI Pay In Louisiana?
If approved, your SSDI payment amount depends completely on what your income was when you were working. Your award will be a percentage of your previous salary or hourly rate, not equal to what you made each month you worked. The national average 2022 SSDI payment is $1,358 per month.
Once you reach your full retirement age (FRA), SSDI converts into Social Security retirement benefits. You do not need to file paperwork or qualify for this change; it happens automatically.
Is It Worth Hiring an Attorney for Louisiana Disability Benefits?
Working with a Louisiana disability lawyer triples your chances of approval for SSDI or SSI within 6 months. These attorneys work on contingency, meaning you pay nothing if the SSA denies your claim. If you do win, you’ll pay a small, one-time fee. There is no risk for you to speak with an attorney to see if your case is strong. Why not sign up for a free, no-obligation phone call to discuss your options today?
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Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.