Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Minnesota
Minnesota’s state health ranking is among the top 5 in the country. Their topmost health concern, however, is binge drinking for which it ranks 44th in the country. Excessive drinking may lead to accidents resulting in injury, neurological and cardiovascular disorders, psychiatric problems as well as liver disease—all of which may be the cause of short and long term disability.
Any disability can qualify for SSDI benefits if it meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) definition of disability. Currently the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiary list consists of those with disabilities related to:
- Mental health: 46%
- Injury: 4%
- Musculoskeletal diseases: 22%
- Nervous system: 10%
In order to qualify for SSDI benefits, you must meet certain conditions of eligibility listed below:
- Your disability meets or is equivalent to one or more impairments listed in the SSA’s Blue Book.
- Your disability has lasted or is projected to last for at least one year.
- You disability prevents you from an earning a living and engaging in substantial gainful activity.
- You have paid into the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits.
In Minnesota about 30% to 35% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Minnesota
About 10.7% of residents in Minnesota suffer from a disability. But not all disabilities can qualify to receive SSDI benefits. You must meet the conditions listed above to be eligible. If your disability is an exact match to a Blue Book listing, your claim is likely to be put on the fast-track for processing.
What if your disability does not meet an exact listing in the Blue Book? The majority of claimants will fall in this category. They can get approved for benefits through what is called a medical vocational allowance. The SSA will look at the following in order to assess you for receiving a medical vocational allowance:
- Your work history of the last 15 years
- Your medical history
- Your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) which is an assessment of mental and physical limitations
Further diagnostics may be needed for the SSA to make a fair determination. If your disability is severely debilitating and you cannot work at your current job or any other job, you will receive benefits through a medical vocational allowance. Factors like age, educational qualifications and skillsets are also taken into consideration.
The entire process can take 90 to 120 days, even longer either because of a backlog in the Social Security system or because the claimant has not filed complete information. It is often helpful to get professional guidance even at this early stage in the claims process. As your advocate, Disability United can help prepare a case that demonstrates you clearly meet the SSA’s approval criteria. This would help you get your claim approved at the earliest possible stage.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
You can apply online, by phone, or in person at any one of the 17 Social Security offices in Minnesota near you. Your case will be assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner who works for a state agency. The disability examiner will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. They will review all the information you have filed including the daily activity questionnaire, consultative examination reports, and your work history. The examiner may call you for an interview which may be via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person. The disability examiner will make a determination based on all the information you provide which is why it is very important to be as detailed and accurate as possible.
Only 30% to 35% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Minnesota. The majority will receive a denial notice stating why their SSDI claims application was denied. If you are part of this majority you will need to go through the appeals process in order to get benefits you are entitled to. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: Unless the disability examiner in the initial application claims process has overlooked some important information in your case, it is likely that you will receive a denial notice. This is because the first stage of the appeals process is very similar to the initial application process except another disability examiner reviews your case. In Minnesota the approval rate at this stage is 8.8%.
- The Court Hearing: You are advised to have an advocate represent you at this stage since it is the best opportunity you have to win your claim. An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your case and he may allow the testimony of your treatment physicians and other medical and vocational experts to weigh in on his decision. In Minnesota, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is over 55%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will review the decision of the ALJ based on all the evidence at the hearing. If they believe the ALJ has make a wrong decision, the Council can send your case to another ALJ for a re-trial.
- Federal Review: Not many are advised to go to this level as the process is time-consuming and may be financially devastating to claimants particularly when they cannot work and therefore have no source of income.
Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial notice failing which the claimant must start the claims process all over again right from the initial application stage. Hiring an advocate such as Disability United, can help you not miss those deadlines! They can also increase your chances of winning a claim by better preparing your case. They will assess why your claim was denied in the first place, gather your medical records and testimonies from your treatment physicians, establish the severity of your disability through medical evidence and establish an onset date based on records. This is important because establishing the earliest possible onset date would mean more back pay once your claim is approved.
Having an advocate early on in the claims process can be beneficial as it may lead to your claim being approved at the initial application or at the reconsideration stage.
If you suffer from a disability that is likely to last for a year, find out whether you are eligible for receiving benefits. You can do this by filling out our free disability evaluation form today! Let’s work together to help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Minnesota
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Minnesota State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Disability Minnesota: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services and more.
- 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.
- SNAP Benefits: 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.