Everything You Need to Know About Minnesota Disability

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in July 2023 to make sure all info below is both current and correct. More than a million Minnesotans — almost 1 in 5 — are currently aged 50-64. Those are the easiest years to get Social Security Disability Insurance benefits! However, just 2% collected Minnesota disability through the federal SSDI program in 2022. That’s 111,495 people in a state with well over 5.7 million residents. Another 1.3% received Minnesota disability from the Supplemental Security Income program. If your mental or physical condition stops you from working for 12+ months, you may qualify for benefits, too. 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 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 and 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 people aged 18 to 66. Congress enacted the program into law in January of 1956. Every person who works 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 with at least 40 Social Security work credits can appy for SSDI. 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 question below, then you can file for SSDI today:

  • Did you work 5 in the last 10 years in jobs where you paid Social Security taxes? You must answer “yes” in order to qualify for SSDI. 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 health problems must last at least one year or result in death. So, if you think you’ll improve enough to work again soon, then 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 getting 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 18-66? The SSDI program only pays people too young to draw their full Social Security retirement benefit. Once you turn 67, then Minnesota disability checks automatically convert into Social Security retirement. Read this to learn why you can’t draw both retirement and 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. That includes a mandatory five-month waiting period Congress put into place. If you’re out of work for several months before you apply, you’ll likely skip that wait. Legally, a Minnesota disability attorney can’t charge you anything unless the SSA awards you SSDI benefits. Right now, SSDI claims in Minnesota take 334 days to process, on average.

If you apply for SSDI without a Minnesota disability lawyer, you’ll likely wait 1-2 years for your first payment. (Today, the SSDI program approves just 4%-6% of initial claims.) If they deny your first application, you get four chances to appeal. You must do this in writing within 60 days. Reconsideration is your first appeal stage, and it usually takes another 100 days to complete.

Only 2% of SSDI claimants get benefits 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 14 months to get your hearing scheduled on the court’s calendar. If you win Minnesota disability benefits on appeal, that’s about two years after your initial filing date!

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

The highest Minnesota disability payment available to anyone with an approved SSDI claim in 2023 is $3,627 per month. Only people earning more than $147,000 each year before they stop working will qualify for that much, though. The average monthly SSDI payment for disabled workers nationwide is currently $1,483. Your SSDI 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 can raise your SSDI amount automatically in some 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 turn 67 years old. Then, the SSA automatically converts your SSDI into Social Security retirement benefits. Your pay amount won’t change, and you don’t need to fill out any paperwork. But if the SSA decides you can go back to work again sooner, 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 people who are blind, disabled, or at least 65 years old. This program uses the federal government’s general tax fund to pay for Minnesota disability benefits. So, SSI payments don’t pull any money from the Social Security trust fund. However, the program does screen everyone to ensure they are poor enough for SSI. People who apply need very little income and almost no assets to qualify for SSI.

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 you qualify for Minnesota SSI. Once you file your claim, 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. Your age alone makes you qualify for SSI. Anyone aged 65 and up need only worry about passing the SSI income and asset limits.

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 monthly income and asset limits to qualify. First, your monthly income can’t be more than $1,470 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 more than $2,000, the SSI program won’t award you benefits. 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) for daily travel needs
  • Your wedding ring, furniture, clothing or daily living needs (appliances, bedding, towels)

Married couples who file SSI claims must meet different financial limits. Both applicants together need less than $3,000 in assets and $1,470 in monthly income to qualify for SSI.

3. SSI Payments Max Out at $914 for Individuals, or $1,371 for Couples

Your SSI payments can go up with an annual COLA increase. But unfortunately, SSI doesn’t award payments for life. You’ll need to pass SSI updates every 3-7 years to keep your benefits coming in. Once you turn 65, the SSI program doesn’t need to check that any more. As long as you still meet the income and asset limits, you’ll keep your monthly benefits.

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 buy it for 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. Car accident 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 54% 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.

How to Get Free Expert Claim Help at No Cost to You

A Minnesota disability lawyer will get you the most benefits you qualify for paid faster. Legal assistance nearly triples your chances for a successful claim! A Social Security attorney cannot charge you anything if you don’t get benefits. That’s because all Minnesota disability lawyers work on contingency. They also provide free phone calls to answer your questions about the claims process. Legally, you owe $0 if you don’t win cash benefits. And if you do win, then you only pay one small fee.

Want an expert to answer your claim questions by phone? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz now and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Lori Polemenakos is Director of Consumer Content and SEO strategist for LeadingResponse, a legal marketing company. An award-winning journalist, writer and editor based in Dallas, Texas, she's produced articles for major brands such as Match.com, Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Xfinity, Mail.com, and edited several published books. Since 2016, she's published hundreds of articles about Social Security disability, workers' compensation, veterans' benefits, personal injury, mass tort, auto accident claims, bankruptcy, employment law and other related legal issues.