Your Guide to Getting North Dakota Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in November 2023 to make sure all info below is accurate. If you like room to roam, then you might call North Dakota home. As the 19th largest state in the USA, it’s also the third-least populous. Meaning each person living there has plenty of space to spread out over the nearly 39.1 million acres of farmland. North Dakota is also America’s leading producer of sunflowers and honey. North Dakota is also nicknamed the “Roughrider state” as an homage to former resident Teddy Roosevelt. And North Dakota residents can appreciate that the state has two disability programs. We’ll explain what North Dakota disability benefit options are available to you below.

What Are the Two Ways to Get North Dakota Social Security Disability Assistance?

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about one in four North Dakota adults are disabled. That’s roughly 193,737 adults in a state that only has a population of 774,948 residents.

But even with these statistics, the number of people who actually qualify for Social Security disability benefits is relatively low. That’s because everyone who applies must meet the definition of disability as laid out by the Social Security Administration (SSA). And the application process for Social Security disability benefits is lengthy. In fact, that’s one reason claimants may wish to retain a disability lawyer. But we’ll get to that later.

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). Many states also offer a state supplemental payment (SSP) to bolster the amounts provided by these federal programs. However, North Dakota disability does not.

Fortunately, you must only submit one disability benefits application for consideration for both programs.

What is SSDI and How Do You Qualify?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for adults aged 18-66 with long-term health issues that prevent them from working. This branch of North Dakota disability supports disabled individuals who have a qualifying previous work history. That means an applicant can show prior employment for about one-fourth of their adult lives and five of the last 10 years. You’ll also need to submit recent, convincing medical evidence that supports your SSDI claim.

When reviewing your SSDI application, the SSA will look to see if you have enough work credits from previous employment. Though it’s a federally funded program, North Dakota disability processes claims through the state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) office.

The minimum requirements for consideration for SSDI benefits in North Dakota are:

  1. You must have previously worked in jobs where you paid Social Security payroll taxes.
  2. Your condition meets the SSA’s federal criteria for disability.
  3. Work is impossible for you for 12 months or more owing to a long-lasting medical condition.

If you find yourself unable to meet the qualifications for SSDI, don’t give up yet. There is still a possibility you may qualify for the other North Dakota disability program, SSI.

What is SSI and How Do You Qualify?

SSI is the other federally funded North Dakota disability program. It provides monthly cash benefits to very low-income adults and children who meet the SSA definition of disability. There is no work history requirement, but the financial limits for this particular Social Security program are strict. And the calculations include things like income from employment but also monies received for alimony, workers’ comp, and veterans’ benefits.

Most SSI claimants in North Dakota have mobility or cognitive disabilities, though many are also hearing impaired. There are 7,924 residents living in North Dakota receiving SSI benefits as of October 2023. Determination of who gets these benefits is in the hands of the North Dakota Disability Determination Services office on behalf of the SSA.

When you apply for North Dakota disability, the state’s Disability Determination Services office considers your claim for both benefit programs. It’s more common for one or the other to award payments, but there are cases where individuals qualify for both programs. 

What is a Typical North Dakota Disability Monthly Payment?

The maximum SSDI monthly payment a person can get for a North Dakota disability claim in 2024 is $3,822. However, the average check to a qualified disabled worker usually looks more like $1,537 per month. Why the difference? How much someone made while working determines how large (or small) their monthly pay amount is.

Applicants who qualify for SSI can receive a maximum benefit of $943 per month, which is the 2024 federal benefit rate (FBR). A qualifying couple can receive up to $1,415 monthly. Just FYI, this is also the maximum amount of countable income anyone can make and still receive these benefits.

Keep in mind that there may be other North Dakota assistance programs available, but you must apply separately for each. For example, in 34 states, if you qualify for SSI, you automatically receive Medicaid health benefits. However, that is not the case with North Dakota disability.

North Dakota is one of nine states in the US that has its own eligibility criteria in place for Medicaid medical benefits. If you qualify for SSI, you will likely be eligible for Medicaid, but it’s not guaranteed. And you will have to fill out separate North Dakota Medicaid forms.

These different applications are one of many reasons hiring a North Dakota disability lawyer is smart. You want to ensure you get all the benefits you deserve, but it’s hard to make that happen if you don’t know all the rules!

How Long Does It Take to Receive North Dakota Disability Benefits?

No matter where you live, federal law requires a five-month waiting period before the SSA will issue any SSDI payments.

However, in extremely dire cases, SSDI applicants may file under the Compassionate Allowances program (CAL). This is meant only for emergency situations, like where the individual has a terminal cancer or brain disorder. In these cases, it’s clear the person meets the SSA’s definition of disability, so requesting a CAL designation may help expedite processing. 

The good news, however, is that the processing time for North Dakota disability is already less than the national average. The bad news is that even then, the wait time usually takes about 310 days. So, it’s going to be a minute before you get any money after your claim’s approved.

And it’ll take even longer if you aren’t successful with your initial application. The average wait time for a reconsideration and appeal hearing is another 11 months. Plus, you’ll have to travel to Fargo, ND — home of the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). The ODAR office in Fargo is the only place that handles North Dakota disability claim hearings.

How Do I Apply for North Dakota Disability from the Social Security Administration?

North Dakotans who think they qualify for disability have several ways they can apply for benefits. Claimants must file directly with the SSA, who will then forward the paperwork to the North Dakota Disability Determination Services office. An individual can choose to apply:

  1. Online. Visit the SSA disability portal. This is the preferred method for the SSA.  
  2. By telephone. Call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) anytime between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  3. In person. You can find your local office by ZIP code on the SSA locator site. However, be aware that many Social Security field offices right now have limited staff or require appointments.

The fourth option is to hire a Social Security attorney and have them file for you. It will cost you nothing out of pocket upfront since most disability attorneys work on contingency. That means you pay nothing unless you win, and even then, it’s a small one-time fee deducted from your settlement.

It’s worth it, however, since studies show that people who retain counsel are ultimately three-times more likely to get benefits. Because North Dakota disability attorneys know the ins and outs of the system, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Want to speak with an expert who can help you qualify for disability benefits for free? Click the button below to start your free online benefits quiz and see if you may qualify:

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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:, Instagram @dancerscribe, and Twitter/X @KimberlyNeumann.