New Hampshire may be one of the smallest states, but it has a big impact. In a recent US News & World Report ranking of the best states in which to live, it was #4. It also came in second place for the least pollution, with an average of only 14 “unhealthy air” days annually. The national average is 104 days. What’s more? The “Granite State” plays a major role in presidential elections, as one of the first political primaries every four years. And this “little state that could” also has two New Hampshire disability programs to take care of its impaired residents. But what are they and how can you qualify? Read on.
What Are the Options for New Hampshire Disability?
About one in eight people in New Hampshire have a disability. Interestingly, that is the same as the national average of 12.6%. For qualified individuals, there are two federal assistance programs to which they can apply through the Social Security Administration (SSA). They include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Though both programs are federally funded, New Hampshire’s Bureau of Disability Determination Services (DDS) determines state level eligibility for residents. The DDS is also responsible for administering payments. But how do you know if you qualify and how much assistance can you get?
Eligibility for SSDI versus SSI in New Hampshire
As previously aforementioned, there are two New Hampshire disability programs for which you can apply.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) supports disabled individuals who have a qualifying work history. When applying for SSDI, the SSA will look to see if you have enough work credits from prior employment. Typically, qualifying applicants need to have worked about one-fourth of their adult lives and five of the last 10 years. This program is specifically for adults aged 18-65 with long-term health issues that force them to stop working.
To meet the baseline requirements for consideration for SSDI benefits, you must:
- Have worked in jobs where you paid Social Security payroll taxes.
- Meet the SSA’s definition of disability.
- Have a long-lasting medical condition that renders you incapable of working for 12 months or more.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the other New Hampshire disability program available to residents. It provides monthly cash benefits to children and adults who again meet the definition of disability. Applicants must also meet certain income and resource guidelines but there is no work history requirement. Most successful SSI claimants in New Hampshire are blind/disabled/aged and have very low income and resources.
You can apply for both SSDI and SSI simultaneously in New Hampshire. The DDS will automatically screen you for both programs with one disability application. While it is possible to qualify for both programs, it’s more typical to receive one or the other.
How Much Are New Hampshire Disability Payments?
The maximum SSDI monthly payment a person can get for New Hampshire disability in 2022 is $3,345. On average, however, qualifying disabled workers get around $1,358/month. Ultimately, the monthly payment amount received reflects how much a person made while working.
Applicants who qualify for SSI can receive a maximum benefit of $841 per month, which is the federal benefit rate (FBR). A qualifying couple can receive up to $1,261 monthly. Just FYI, this is also the maximum amount of countable income a person can make and still receive any benefits.
Countable income includes work from employment but also things like alimony, workers’ comp, and veterans’ benefits. The formula to determine countable income is actually a tad complicated. That is one of many reasons hiring a lawyer when applying for New Hampshire disability benefits is a good idea.
There are also additional state supplemental payment (SSP) options potentially available for New Hampshire disability SSI recipients. Living status and other variables determine eligibility and SSP requests require additional paperwork. New Hampshire SSP checks emanate from state (not federal) funds.
Another thing to keep in mind, even if you qualify for New Hampshire SSI benefits, you won’t automatically get Medicaid. This is different than most other states. Chances are high you will be able to get medical benefits, but it also requires an additional application.
How Long Does It Take to Receive Benefits in New Hampshire?
Federal law requires a five-month waiting period before anyone can get SSDI payments after their claim’s approved. If you wait that long to apply after you’ve stopped working, you can skip the waiting period. However, keep in mind that it usually takes three to five months just to process claims.
Currently in New Hampshire there is only one Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) hearing SSDI and SSI cases. It’s located in Manchester, NH and the average wait time for a hearing is 11 months. The average processing time for New Hampshire disability cases is 372 days.
People with severe disabilities — like certain brain disorders or cancers — that fall under the SSA’s Compassionate Allowances (CAL) list may receive an expedited review. But there is no special application form or process for CAL applicants.
The good news is that 43% of applicants for New Hampshire disability are eventually awarded benefits. This is higher than the 35% national average. However, oftentimes it doesn’t happen in the first hearing.
And appeals take even more time. Especially since New Hampshire has recently added another layer to the appeals process. Upon first rejection, applicants must request a reconsideration, which can take another 100 days or more to process. After that, there may also be another hearing. The longer you wait and the more appeals you file, the more time you go without the money you deserve.
A better idea? Hiring a New Hampshire disability lawyer to help with your case. All disability attorneys in our network work on contingency. So until you settle your claim, you pay nothing. And if you do win, you only pay a small, one-time fee deducted from your settlement. Plus, having a disability lawyer file your claim markedly increases your chances of a successful outcome on the first try.
How Do I Apply For New Hampshire Disability?
Applicants can apply for New Hampshire disability one of four ways:
- Online through the portal at SSA.gov.
- By phone through the SSA’s toll-free service line. To apply call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) anytime between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- By visiting a local Social Security Office. However, this should be last resort owing to closures and limited on-site staff as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Through an experienced Social Security attorney, which costs you nothing up front.
As mentioned earlier, the Bureau of Disability Determination Services will also play a part in all New Hampshire disability claims. Their contact info is:
Social Security Disability Determination Services (DDS)
21 South Fruit Street, Suite 30
Concord, NH 03301
Do I Need a Lawyer to File My New Hampshire Disability Claim?
The technical answer to this question is no, you don’t need a lawyer to file for New Hampshire disability. However, if you’d like to win your claim and receive benefits, you should consider it.
Studies show that individuals with representation are three-times more likely to have a positive outcome. The disability process can get confusing and having a Social Security lawyer in your corner can be a great comfort. Consider scheduling a free consultation today. Because the last thing you want is to lose out on money you deserve because of a technicality.
Kimberly Dawn Neumann
Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a multi-published NYC-based magazine and book writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications ranging from Forbes to Cosmopolitan. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, College of Journalism. For more, visit: www.KDNeumann.com, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter @KimberlyNeumann