Your Complete Guide to Louisiana Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in April 2024 to make sure all info below is correct and complete. 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 4,573,749 people, making it the 25th most populated state in the country. Of those, approximately 34% (or one in three) have some type of disability. Among them, just 6.3% receive monthly disability assistance.

Who Qualifies for Louisiana Disability Benefits from the Social Security Administration?

If you have a medical condition that prevents 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 make payments to qualified applicants. The following information includes details about each program and what makes a person eligible.

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, or at least 65 years old.

SSI always looks at your financial status before reviewing any medical conditions. The program only pays the poorest people with the fewest resources and assets who cannot work.

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 Are SSI Benefits Each Month?

SSI’s financial rules are strict. If you work, then your monthly income cannot be more than $1,550 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 assistance.

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 resource limits. The same is true of one vehicle, your wedding ring, clothing, and appliances or furniture that you use in your daily life.

Unlike SSDI, SSI benefits are a fixed amount no matter how much money you earned during your working years. If approved, you will receive $943 if you’re single. However, a married couple can receive no more than $1415 total per month. This monthly SSI pay amount is an increase over previous years. That said, increases aren’t guaranteed to happen every year.

Does the SSI Program Provide Health Insurance Coverage?

Yes, you become eligible for Medicaid coverage the same month your SSI benefits begin.

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 with disabilities who cannot work, but aren’t yet 67 years old. SSDI allows you to draw your full Social Security benefit before that birthday passes.

SSDI, while not as difficult to receive as SSI, does have specific eligibility rules:

1. You must have a work history of at least 5-10 years in jobs where you paid Social Security payroll taxes.

2. A doctor must state your health problems prevent you from working a minimum of 12 months.

3. You must have had regular medical treatment and doctor’s visits during the past year. If you don’t have copies of your complete medical records, you must attend a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to confirm your disability statusIf you skipped doctors’ visits because you cannot afford them, a Louisiana disability attorney may cover those costs. This is just one advantage of working with a Social Security attorney.

4. You must not currently receive any Social Security benefits. This is because SSDI program income automatically converts to regular Social Security on your 67th birthday. Federal law makes this switch happen automatically. It’s also illegal to draw both SSDI and regular Social Security at the same time.

How Long Does it Take Louisianans to Get SSDI?

How Long Does It Take to Get SSDI in Louisiana?

It can take a significant amount of time to start receiving SSDI. Not only that, but the application process can also take several months. Plus, federal law requires a five-month waiting period before you can receive SSDI after claim approval. With all that in mind, you’re potentially going a long time without income.

The average Louisiana disability case can take more than five months to process. If denied, filing a reconsideration (your first appeal) can make your wait time even longer.

There are things you can control, however, such as having a Louisiana disability benefits attorney. Studies show that an attorney can greatly improve your chances of benefit approval in 6 months or less. 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 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 current nationwide SSDI payment is $1,537 per month. on average.

Once you turn 67, SSDI converts into regular Social Security. You do not need to file paperwork or qualify for this change; it happens automatically.

Does SSDI Include Health Insurance?

Sort of, yes. Once you receive SSDI for 24 months in a row, you become eligible for Medicare coverage. Normally, a person cannot access Medicare before their 65th birthday. Your SSDI beneficiary status can grant you Medicare coverage before you reach that age.

How to Start the Louisiana Disability Benefits Application Process

When you’re ready to apply for disability, you have 4 options:

Option #1: Apply Online

You can only apply for SSDI online at Any person interested in SSI must go to a local Social Security office instead to complete an application.

Option #2: File by Phone

You can also start the application process by calling one of two phone numbers:

  • 1-800-772-1213 Monday through Friday, 8am-7pm EST for people who can hear and speak.
  • Deaf or hard-of-hearing applicants can use TTY 1-800-325-0778 instead.

You can also use these numbers to contact the SSA if you don’t know how to find your local office or want to request an appointment.

Option #3: In Person at a Local Social Security Office

We suggest calling ahead and making an appointment before heading down to your local Social Security office. Plan to spend at least 4-5 hours there on paperwork after you arrive.

Option #4: Have an Attorney Help You Apply for Free

This is the only method that triples your approval chances in 6 months or less!

Do I Need an Attorney to Get Louisiana Disability Benefits?

Working with a lawyer triples your chances of approval for SSDI or SSI in the shortest possible time. These attorneys work on contingency, meaning you pay nothing if the SSA denies your claim. If you do win, then you’ll only pay one small fee after you get your award. There is no risk for you to contact an attorney to see if you may qualify before you apply. Why not request a free, no-obligation phone call to discuss your options today?

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to contact an expert for free claim help now:

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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.