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. In fact, agriculture is big business in North Dakota and it’s even this country’s leading producer of sunflowers and honey. North Dakota is also nicknamed the “Roughrider state” as an homage to Teddy Roosevelt who had a home there. However, North Dakota residents who are having a rough ride themselves will appreciate that the state has two disability programs. We’ll explain what North Dakota disability benefit options are available to residents below.
What Are the Two Ways to Get North Dakota Disability Assistance?
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), about one in four North Dakota adults have a disability. That’s roughly 141, 080 adults in a state that only has a population of 760,394 residents.
But even with those seemingly elevated statistics, the number of people who actually qualify for 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 is lengthy, which is one reason claimants may wish to retain a Social Security 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, when applying for North Dakota disability, you must only submit one application for consideration for both SSDI and SSI.
What is SSDI and How Do You Qualify?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for adults aged 18-65 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.
When applying for SSDI, 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).
The minimum requirements for consideration for SSDI benefits are:
- You must have previously worked in jobs where you paid Social Security payroll taxes.
- Your condition meets the SSA’s federal criteria for disability.
- 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?
Supplemental Security Income (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 parameters for qualification 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 currently 8,304 North Dakota residents receiving SSI benefits. Determination of who gets these benefits is once again in the hands of the North Dakota DDS on behalf of the SSA.
As previously mentioned, when you apply for North Dakota disability, you will be considered for both SSDI and SSI. It is more common to receive one or the other, 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 2022 is $3,345. However, the average check to a qualified disabled worker usually looks more like $1,358/month. Why the difference? How much a person made while working determines how large (or small) the total amount of their monthly payment.
Applicants who qualify for SSI can receive a maximum benefit of $841 per month, which is the 2022 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 SSI 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 lawyer when applying for North Dakota disability benefits 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, applicants may apply for 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 it usually takes about 373 days. So, it’s going to be a minute to get any money if you win your claim.
And it’ll take even longer if you aren’t successful on the first try. 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 in Fargo is the only place that handles North Dakota disability claim hearings.
How Do I Apply for North Dakota Disability?
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 DDS. An individual can choose to apply:
- Online. Visit the SSA disability portal. This is the preferred method for the SSA.
- By telephone. Call 800-772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778) anytime between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- In person. You can find your local office by zip code on the SSA locator site. However, be aware that many offices right now have limited staff or appointments owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your online benefits evaluation now!
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