Everything You Need to Know About Minnesota Disability Benefits

Minnesota disability

More than 1.1 million Minnesotans — almost 1 in 5 residents — are currently aged 50-64. Those are the easiest years to get approved for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits! However, just 2% collected Minnesota disability through the federal SSDI program in 2018. That’s just over 120,000 people in a state with well over 5.6 million residents. Another 1.4% received Minnesota disability payments from the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. If your mental or physical condition stops you from working for 12+ months, you may qualify for Minnesota disability. We’ll explain how to apply, eligibility rules and potential monthly payment amounts below.



Two Programs May Provide Minnesota Disability Benefits

Both programs listed below pay monthly Minnesota disability benefits to qualified applicants. They use same the medical screening questions to see who fits the Social Security Administration’s definition of “disabled.” In addition, the SSA manages both federal assistance programs. However, that’s where the similarities between the two end.

You can apply for monthly Minnesota disability benefits through either of these two programs:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Luckily, the SSA makes it easy to apply for both programs with a single claim form. Just mark the checkbox asking the SSA to screen you for SSDI as well as SSI benefits!

SSDI Minnesota Disability Benefits: How to Apply, Qualify & Payment Amounts

The first program, SSDI, is a federal disability insurance program that specifically covers working-age Americans. Congress enacted the program into law in January of 1956. Every person who works full-time in jobs that deduct FICA taxes from their paychecks has SSDI coverage. (FICA taxes are sometimes called “Social Security taxes,” but they’re the same thing.) Because SSDI comes from an insurance policy, your coverage automatically lapses after 60 months. Anyone working full-time for 5 in the last 10 years and paying FICA taxes may apply for SSDI-based Minnesota disability. We’ll explain everything you need to know about getting Minnesota disability benefits through the SSDI program below.

1. Who Can Apply for the SSDI Program’s Disability Benefits?

Not sure if you meet all the SSDI program’s eligibility rules for Minnesota disability benefits? If you answer “yes” to every bulleted question below, you can confidently file your SSDI application for Minnesota disability today:

  • Did you work 5 in the last 10 years full-time in jobs that withheld Social Security taxes from your paychecks? You must answer “yes” in order to qualify for SSDI-based Minnesota disability. The SSA automatically denies anyone who can’t — even the terminally ill.
  • Will you be out of work at least 12 months — specifically for health reasons? SSDI rules say your mental or physical condition must last at least one year or result in death. So, if you think you’ll improve enough to work again in less than 12 months, don’t apply.
  • Did you see a doctor to treat your health issue within the last year? If yes, great! You’re one step closer to Minnesota disability benefits. Otherwise, the SSA must confirm your diagnosis qualifies for SSDI. They’ll set up a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam after you apply to do this. If you can’t afford to see a doctor, a Minnesota disability attorney may cover it. An attorney can also buy full medical records you’ll need to support your SSDI claim.
  • Are you currently aged 18-64? The SSDI program only pays Minnesota disability to eligible working-age claimants. Once you reach full retirement age (FRA), Minnesota disability checks automatically convert into Social Security retirement. Your birth year determines your FRA; find yours on the SSA’s chart. (Right now, it happens when you turn 65.) Read this to learn why you can’t draw Social Security retirement and Minnesota disability at the same time.

If you said “no” to any question, the SSI program’s Minnesota disability benefits may still be available to you.

2. How Long Does It Take for That First SSDI Payment?

Six months from your SSDI application date is the soonest you’ll get your first Minnesota disability payment. The SSA takes 3-5 months to process each person’s SSDI application for Minnesota disability. That includes a mandatory five-month waiting period Congress put into place before SSDI claims get payments. If you’re out of work for several months before you apply, you’ll likely skip that wait. Getting a lawyer to file your SSDI claim doubles your chances for approval the first time you apply. Legally, an attorney can’t charge you anything unless the SSDI program approves you for Minnesota disability benefits. Right now, SSDI claims for Minnesota disability benefits take 633 days to process, on average. That’s almost two years!

If you apply for SSDI without a lawyer, you’ll likely wait 2+ years for your first Minnesota disability payment. (Today, the SSDI program approves just 4%-6% of first-time claimants without lawyers, depending on where they live.) If they deny your first application, you get four chances to appeal. You must do this in writing within 60 days after your SSDI claim’s denial. Reconsideration is your first appeal stage, and it usually takes another 100 days to complete.

Only 2% of SSDI claimants get approved for Minnesota disability at this stage. Your second chance to appeal means pleading your case in front of an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Right now, it takes about 18 months to get your Minnesota disability case scheduled on the court’s calendar. If you win Minnesota disability benefits on appeal, that’s two years and three months after your SSDI application date!

3. How Much SSDI Money Can I Get Each Month?

The highest Minnesota disability payment available to anyone with an approved SSDI claim is $2,861 per month. Only people earning more than $100,000 each year before becoming disabled will qualify for that much, though. The average monthly SSDI payment for disabled workers nationwide is currently $1,234. Your Minnesota disability benefit payment should equal about 40% of your highest average monthly paycheck over a 35-year work history. An annual cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) increase will raise your benefit amount automatically in certain years.

4. Are the SSDI Program’s Payments for Life?

An approved SSDI claim won’t guarantee you Minnesota disability benefits for life. Instead, the SSA needs to confirm your condition still stops you from working every 3-7 years. When this happens, you must pass your disability update check to keep getting SSDI payments. This is typical until you reach your FRA birthday. Then, the SSA automatically converts your Minnesota disability into regular Social Security retirement benefits. Your check amount won’t change, and you don’t need to fill out any paperwork. But if the SSA decides you’re no longer disabled before that, they’ll suspend your SSDI payments immediately.

SSI Minnesota Disability Benefits: How to Apply, Qualify & Payment Amounts

A second program provides Minnesota disability benefits for people who haven’t worked recently or enough to qualify for SSDI. It’s called Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. SSI’s designed to help blind or disabled working-age Americans and those aged 65 and up. This program uses the federal government’s general tax fund to pay for Minnesota disability benefits. So, SSI payments don’t remove any money from the Social Security trust fund. However, the program does screen every applicant to ensure they meet SSI’s financial requirements. Eligible SSI claimants need very little income and almost no assets to qualify for Minnesota disability every month. Below, we’ll explain the SSI program’s eligibility rules and Minnesota disability benefit amounts.

1. The SSI Program Must Confirm You Meet the SSA’s Definition of “Disabled”

If you’re younger than 65 when you apply, the SSI program must confirm that you’re either blind or disabled. You’ll need strong medical evidence to prove your SSI claim qualifies for Minnesota disability benefits. Once you file your SSI application, your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) office will set up your exam. If you’re already 65 or older, the SSI program waives this exam requirement. Your age alone makes you eligible under the SSI program’s medical requirements. Anyone aged 65 and up need only worry about passing the SSI program’s financial eligibility rules.

2. You Also Need Very Little Income and Almost No Assets In Order to Qualify for SSI

Every Minnesota disability applicant must fall below the SSI program’s monthly income and asset limits to qualify. First, your monthly income can’t be more than $771 when you apply. This includes any money you get regularly from any income source, working or not. For example: Child support or alimony payments, earned interest, SNAP, TANF, etc. Next, the SSI program looks at how much money you have right now in the bank. If it’s than $2,000, the SSI program won’t approve you for Minnesota disability payments. Then, the SSA looks for any other assets that might count towards that $2,000 limit. If you can easily exchange something for cash, then it usually counts (i.e., jewelry, stocks, bonds, lottery tickets, etc.) Luckily, some things won’t count towards your $2,000 asset limit, such as:

  • Your house and the land it sits on, if you’re the owner
  • One vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, boat) your household uses for transportation
  • Your wedding ring, furniture, clothing or daily living needs (appliances, bedding, towels)

Married couples who file SSI claims for Minnesota disability must meet different financial requirements. Both applicants need less than $3,000 in assets and $1,157 in monthly income to qualify for SSI-based Minnesota disability benefits.

3. SSI Payments Max Out at $771/Person, or $1,157/Couple Each Month

Your Minnesota disability payments through the SSI program will go up in any year the SSA approves a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA). But unfortunately, SSI approval doesn’t guarantee Minnesota disability payments for life. You’ll need to pass SSI updates every 3-7 years to keep your Minnesota disability payments coming in. Once your 65th birthday passes, the SSI program doesn’t need to check that any more. As long as you’re still financially eligible for SSI, you’ll keep your monthly payments.

What About Temporary or Short-Term Minnesota Disability Benefits?

There are no government programs that provide short-term or temporary Minnesota disability benefits. (Employers may offer LTD or STD insurance coverage with your benefits package or you can purchase it privately yourself.) If you don’t own a private insurance policy and suddenly become disabled, that’s okay! Government benefits aren’t the only way to make ends meet while you cannot work. Try one of these options instead:

  1. Workers’ compensation benefits. Every Minnesota employer must have workers’ compensation insurance, according to state law. If you’re injured or sick while on the job, then you may qualify for benefits while you heal. Get a free 2-minute evaluation online now to see if you may qualify.
  2. Personal injury claims. Hurt in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Don’t settle with insurance for half the money you’re owed! The only way to get all the money your injury deserves is through a personal injury claim. For example: Another car rear-ended you, giving you whiplash. Auto insurance only pays 52% of those costs, on average, according to NHTSA study data. Get your free online case review in less than two minutes before you decide what to do.
  3. Compensation for drug or medical device injuries. If any drug, medical device or product injures you, the manufacturer may owe you a cash settlement. However, you cannot claim any money unless a lawyer files the paperwork for you. To see if you may qualify online in less than two minutes for free, visit DrugJustice.com. Find what harmed you, then complete and submit the form to check your eligibility today.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

A lawyer will get you the most Minnesota disability benefits you’re eligible for paid faster. Legal assistance doubles your Minnesota disability claim’s approval chances the first time you apply! A Social Security attorney cannot charge you anything for legal assistance until after you’re approved for benefits. That’s because all Minnesota disability lawyers work on contingency. They also provide free consultations to first-time applicants who have questions about the Minnesota disability claims process. Legally, they cannot charge any fees at all unless they represent your case and it wins. And if you do win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.

Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!

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