Chances are if you’re missing work because of a health problem, you’re probably pretty worried about paying your bills. Two Social Security Administration (SSA) federal programs can ease your peace of mind and improve your financial stability with monthly Montana disability benefits:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Finding out if you’re eligible is easy and fast because the programs use the same criteria for qualification.
Learn the basics so you can get the Montana disability benefits you’re entitled to.
SSDI for Montana Disability Applicants
Let’s check out the details for residents of Big Sky Country.
1. Who’s Eligible for SSDI?
The SSDI program uses deductions from employee paychecks to pay benefits. Montanans who answer “yes” to all these questions can apply:
- Have I seen a healthcare provider in the last 3 months about my condition? If not, get a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to verify your disability. Pro Tip: Your Montana disability lawyer can cover the cost of seeing your healthcare provider and getting medical records if you can’t.
- Does my healthcare provider expect my condition to keep me off the job for at least a year? You don’t qualify for SSDI if you can get back to work sooner.
- Am I 18 to 65 years old and not receiving Social Security benefits? Benefits end when you reach full retirement age because you get regular Social Security benefits.
- Have I been employed full-time for at least 5 of the last 10 years with employers who withheld Social Security taxes? You’re not eligible if you didn’t because you weren’t paying FICA taxes.
Even if you have some “no” answers, you may be eligible for SSI benefits (see below).
Related: Your New Mexico Disability Benefits Guide
2. How Much Money Does SSDI Pay in Monthly Benefits?
The SSA sets Montana disability payments by:
- Estimating your average monthly pay over 35 years of work
- Using 40% of that amount as the monthly payment
The highest payment is $3,345, but most people get the 2022 average monthly payment of $1,358. To receive more than $3,000 each month, you must have earned $139,000 annually for 10 years before becoming disabled. Of course, benefits can increase when Congress passes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
3. How Long Does It Take to Get Your First SSDI Payment?
Approval takes about 5 months, with another 30 days before you receive the first check.
However, almost 50% of applications are denied because of paperwork errors. If that happens to you, you have two opportunities to appeal a rejection:
- File a reconsideration within two months. This process can take up to 3.5 months to complete.
- Request a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge. This can take up to a year.
Only 11% of appeals are successful. And even then you could have waited up to 2 years for your first payment.
Pro Tip: Triple your chances of being approved by hiring a Montana disability attorney. You only pay legal fees if you’re approved.
4. How Long Can I Receive SSDI Payments?
As long as you pass updates every 3-7 years, you receive payments until you’re 65. At that point, you start receiving regular Social Security retirement benefits at the same amount.
SSI for Montana Disability Seekers
SSI is for people with low incomes who are either disabled, blind or over 65. Here’s what Montanans from White Fish to Wibaux need to know.
1. What Are the Age Requirements for SSI Disability?
If you’re at least 65 years old, you’re eligible. Younger residents need a DDS exam to establish eligibility.
Pro Tip: A Montana disability lawyer can pay for doctor appointments and medical records requests when you can’t.
2. What Are the Financial Eligibility Rules for SSI Disability?
Residents of the Treasure State seeking SSI benefits must have:
- Total assets below $2,000. (Couples: $3,000).This includes funds in bank accounts and items you can sell, like lottery tickets, stocks and bonds, etc. Your wedding ring, the house and vehicle you own, and other daily living items don’t count.
- Monthly income below $2,260 if you’re blind and $1,350 if you have another disability. (Couples: $2,607 combined.) SNAP, TANF, child support, alimony, earned interest, etc., all count as monthly income.
3. How Much Does SSI Pay?
Benefits can be no more than $841 for individuals and $1,261 for couples. Monthly amounts may increase when Congress approves a COLA.
4. How Long Can I Get SSI Payments?
Montana disability recipients must pass an update once every 3-7 years. If you’re over 65, benefits continue as long as you pass the update and meet the financial requirements. If you’re younger than 65 and don’t pass, your benefits stop.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance with Your Montana Disability Application
Get the benefits you’re eligible for by working with a qualified Social Security attorney. You pay a small one-time fee if you win, and nothing if you don’t.
Pro Tip: Increase your chances of getting benefits by almost 3x by hiring a Montana disability lawyer.
Check your eligibility now! Click below to begin your free online benefits evaluation.
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Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a B2B & B2C content marketing agency that provides services for Fortune 100 brands, healthtech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. Twitter: @word_factory LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.