Interested in Vermont disability? First, here are a few Vermont facts everyone should know. The state’s known as the home of maple syrup and the birthplace of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream (they started in a gas station!). Its name comes from the combination of vert (meaning green) and mont (which means mountain), and folks often visit the state for its lush landscapes and gorgeous mountains.
Vermont has an approximate population of 626,000 people. That makes it one of the least populated states in the country. In fact, only Wyoming ranks below Vermont in the contiguous United States by population. Among those 626,000 people, approximately 10.4% younger than 65 have some kind of disability. Shockingly, only about 5% receive Vermont disability benefits.
The fastest-growing segment of Vermont’s population is people aged 60 and older. Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau project that by 2030, more than 29% of the population will fall into this demographic. That’s an increase of 40% from 2012.
Why is this important? Because age can be one factor in qualifying for Vermont disability benefits. There are two types of benefits: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSI and SSDI are both programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). These are two separate programs, but both pay Vermont disability benefits to qualified applicants. Learn more about each program and what it takes to qualify below.
Vermont Disability Option #1: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits
What Is SSDI?
In January 1956, Congress established the SSDI program to help Americans who become too sick or disabled to work. The SSDI program allows them to draw their rightful Social Security benefits before the age they normally can file for retirement. SSDI requires all the following to qualify for Vermont disability benefits:
- You must have worked in a job for 5-10 years that withheld Social Security benefits from your paycheck.
- Your doctor must verify that your health issue or disability will prevent you from working for at least 12 months.
- You schedule regular doctor’s visits for treatments that help corroborate your claim. Haven’t seen your doctor in the past year? Then the SSA requires a Disability Determination Services (DDS) exam to confirm the medical portion of your claim. If your lack of funds prevents regular medical care, a Vermont disability attorney may be able to cover your medical expenses (doctor’s visits and medical records).
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 65 and not drawing Social Security benefits. This is because once a person reaches full retirement age, Vermont disability payments automatically convert to Social Security retirement. Applying for early retirement at 62 will also disqualify you from receiving SSDI payments.
How Long Does It Take to Get SSDI?
It can take a minimum of six months to start receiving SSDI benefits. In fact, just reviewing your Vermont disability claim paperwork takes 3-5 months, on average. Further, federal law requires a five-month waiting period before Vermont disability payments begin after claim approval.
If the SSA denies your first claim, you may request a reconsideration within 60 days. Studies show that hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of initial benefit approval, thereby eliminating the need to file for reconsideration. This means that a Vermont disability attorney can help you get benefits faster than going it alone.
Related: West Virginia Disability Benefits: What Claimants Must Know
How Much Does SSDI Pay In Vermont?
Upon approval, your average monthly work salary over a 35-year history determines your SSDI benefit payment. Your award will not be equal to your previous income; rather, it will be a percentage. The national average SSDI payment in 2022 is $1,358 per month.
SSDI payments do not continue forever. Once you reach your full retirement age (FRA), they convert to Social Security retirement benefits. You do not need to file paperwork or qualify for this change. It happens automatically.
Vermont Disability Option #2: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits
What Is SSI?
The other federal program that grants Vermont disability benefits is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program only pays benefits to those who are blind, disabled, or at least 65 years old. Screening for SSI benefits is different from screening for SSDI in that it includes a financial component. This Vermont disability benefit only goes to those who are poor and disabled enough to qualify.
If you are 65 years old or older, you automatically pass the medical screening component for SSI. For Virginia disability applicants younger than 65, the SSA evaluates your claim based on your medical information.
The financial screening to qualify for SSI is rigorous. You must have earned no more than $1,350 per month while working. If you are not working, all income counts against you, including child support, alimony, SNAP, TANF, and other sources of income.
Your bank account also plays a role in qualifying for SSI. You can have no more than $2,000 in all bank accounts combined. If you have less than that, then the SSA reviews your other assets to determine their value. Your home and the land it sits on, if you own it, will not count toward this total. Nor will appliances, furniture, and other items necessary for daily life. Also, your wedding ring(s), clothing, and one vehicle are exempt.
How Much Does SSI Pay In Vermont?
If approved, you’ll start receiving Vermont disability benefits in a predetermined monthly pay amount. There was an increase in SSI benefits in 2022 raising the maximum pay rate to $841/person, or $1,261 per couple.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Working with a Vermont disability lawyer triples your chances of getting monthly benefits in six months or less. Because these attorneys work on contingency, it will cost you nothing to see if your case might be successful. If you win, you’ll pay a small fee; if you don’t, you won’t owe anything.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free online benefits evaluation now!
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Lisa Allen is a writer and editor who lives in suburban Kansas City. She holds MFAs in Creative Nonfiction and Poetry, both from the Solstice Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College. Prior to becoming a writer, Lisa worked as a paralegal, where she specialized in real estate in and around Chicago.