Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Michigan
The state of Michigan is known for its work towards increasing opportunities for competitive, integrated employment for people with disabilities. Currently, only 17% of the disabled in Michigan get a job in their own community. The average wages of disabled people are also significantly below the minimum wage. This can create a difficult situation for those coping with a disability. If you are among this group, you can learn about how Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) may help you meet your financial needs.
If you’re living in Michigan and suffer from a severe disability, you may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits. You must meet certain criteria for SSDI eligibility such as:
- Your disability has lasted or is likely to last for at least one year.
- You disability prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful employment.
- Your disability must meet or be equivalent to one or more listings in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book.
- You have paid into the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits.
In Michigan about 29.5% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level (comparable to the national average). The top two diagnostics on the SSDI beneficiary list in Michigan are disabilities that stem from a mental disorder (36%) and musculoskeletal system diseases (29%).
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Michigan
About 14.4% of residents in Michigan suffer from a disability. Those who meet a medical condition listed in the Blue Book will get approved at the initial application level along with those who can sufficiently prove that their physical or mental condition is equivalent to a listing in the Blue Book. If your condition is extremely severe or terminal your case may be expedited so that you receive SSDI benefits as soon as possible [link to compassionate allowance].
Those who do not meet an exact listing in the blue book must prove that their condition is serious enough to prevent them from working. Detailed documentation is critical to a successful claims process. You will need to document the date of disability onset, validated by medical diagnosis, and establish that you have a disability that prevents you from working for at least one year. You will need to prove that you cannot work at your present job, nor are you able to learn new skills to switch careers. To assess your condition you will be required to submit your work records for the last 15 years, and go through diagnostic tests to establish your residual functional capacity. If the SSA determines that you qualify, you will be awarded a medical vocational allowance and receive your SSDI benefits.
To increase your chances of winning your SSDI claim it is recommended that you thoroughly understand the necessary documentation required by the SSA to help them facilitate the claims process for an early determination.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process, or watch the informative video below.
The procedure for starting the SSDI claims application process is the same in every state. In the state of Michigan there are 43 Social Security offices. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you.
Your local SSA office will send your file to a state agency called the Disability Determination Service (DDS). Here a social security disability examiner will be assigned to your case. The examiner will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed and other details you have provided. He may also take the counsel of medical experts in order to establish a fair determination. The examiner may call you for an interview which can take place in person or via video if your disability prevents you from attending an in-person interview. In Michigan, you can expect a decision between 3 to 6 months depending on the number of backlogs in the system.
Only about 30% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Michigan. This forces the rest (70%) to go through the appeals system in order to get the SSDI benefits they are entitled to receive. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages but Michigan is one of 10 prototype states which has temporarily dispensed with the Reconsideration stage (first stage of appeal). Claimants who have been denied benefits at the initial application stage may immediately proceed to the hearing appeal phase.
- The Court Hearing: Your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). An ALJ is specially trained in SSDI rules and regulations and in making a decision on SSDI matters. The judge will be looking at medical evidence that would prove that you have a condition that is severe enough that gives you an inability to work at past jobs or switch to a new form of work. In Michigan, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 49.4%, lower than the national average of 59%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will review your case to see if the ALJ has missed out any important evidence that could overturn the decision. The Council has the power to reverse the decision, transfer your case to another ALJ or deny benefits.
- Federal Review: This is the last option you have for an appeal. Most claimants are advised to re-apply at this stage, rather than go through a laborious federal court hearing which could turn out to be expensive, time-consuming and unlikely to yield successful results.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date on the denial notice. It is better to file an appeal as early as possible to avoid missing the last date and to facilitate early progress of your claim. Getting an advocate or a qualified non-attorney disability representative at the hearing level is recommended. Statistics show that your chances of winning an SSDI claim with legal representation are the best here than at any other stage of the appeals process. Having a person who specializes in the SSDI claims process will relieve you of the stress of having to represent yourself at this crucial stage. Advocates or non-attorneys know the kind of medical evidence ALJs are looking for to meet a particular listing and can give you clear guidance.
Fill out our free disability evaluation form today! In Michigan, claimants tend to receive more favorable disability onset dates than other states. This means more backpay on your SSDI claims.
We understand how difficult it is to be without a job along with the emotional stress of coping with a disability. Do not wait any longer to apply for SSDI benefits. We recommend that you start the SSDI claims process as soon as you know that your disability will present you from working for at least one year. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Michigan
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Michigan State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Michigan State University’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities: The MSU Center provides opportunities for those with disabilities to achieve their career goals.
- Michigan Career and Technical Center: The Center prepares those with disabilities for competitive employment through technical and vocational training programs.
- The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person or a young child are given priority.
- The Michigan Food Assistance Program: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.