Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Missouri
Where health is concerned, Missouri ranks 36 in the American Foundation’s State Health Rankings. In the past year, the number of people with diabetes has increased 16%. Diabetes is associated with diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue and more than 30% of those receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits suffer from such diseases. Mental disorders (32.4%) are the highest diagnostic on the Missouri SSDI beneficiary list.
If you suffer from a disease or injury that renders you unable to work for at least one year, you may be able to qualify for benefits under the federal government’s SSDI program. Eligibility criteria include meeting a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book and having earned enough work credits in the Social Security system.
In Missouri about 30% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level which is comparable to the national average.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Missouri
About 14% of residents in Missouri suffer from a disability. If your disability is an exact match to a listing in the Blue Book the claims process can move fairly smoothly and quickly. However, the majority of claimants will not meet an exact listing and must prove that their disability is equivalent to a listing. Such claimants can receive a medical vocational allowance if their disability prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity. To asses this the SSA will:
- Examine work records of the last 15 years to see whether you may be able to qualify for other jobs, other than your current job.
- Evaluate your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to assess your physical limitations and may determine that you are capable of doing other jobs for which you may need to learn new skills.
You may also be requested to go through further diagnostics that would help the disability examiner make a fair determination on your case.
The entire process can take 3 to 5 months, even longer if the information you supply is not in order or if there is a heavy backlog in the Social Security system. Submitting complete and accurate documentation to validate your claims can help facilitate a faster disability claims process. It is therefore extremely helpful for you to be aware of how the SSDI claims process works and what is required of you.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
Every state follows the same procedure for the SSDI claims process. In the state of Missouri there are 32 Social Security offices. Applications can be made online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. A Social Security Disability examiner who works for a state agency will assess your case and is responsible for making a fair decision on your claim. The disability examiner will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. The information and proof you provide of your medical and vocational condition will help the disability examiner determine whether your condition qualifies for SSDI benefits. The examiner will call you for an interview which may be via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person.
Only 30.5% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Missouri. If you’re among the majority of 69.5% who receive a denial notice don’t give up! The appeals process allows you more attempts at getting your claim approved and the odds are much higher. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages but the state of Missouri is 1 among 10 states where the first stage of appeal (Reconsideration) has been temporarily suspended. The Reconsideration may return at a later date but for now Missourians can immediately appeal at the hearing level.
- The Court Hearing: Here, your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is the best opportunity you have to present your case and it is up to you to provide the judge with the most recent medical and vocational evidence. The judge may give considerable weight to medical and vocational witnesses in making his determination. In Missouri, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 44.2%, lower than the national average of 59%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will determine whether the decision made by the ALJ was fairly determined by looking at all the evidence once again. The Council can reverse the decision of the ALJ or send your case to another ALJ. The Council can also agree with the ALJ and deny benefits.
- Federal Review: The last and final stage of appeal is the federal court. Not many choose to go to this last stage because it is expensive and slow and the verdict is less likely to be in favor of the claimant.
Appeals must be filed with the SSA within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. Claimants are advised to appoint an advocate who specializes in the SSDI claims process in order to maximize their chances of winning their claim. Advocates or attorneys will know why your case was denied in the first place and know what is needed to build up and bolster your case. Legal representation can also save you time, money and stress.
Fill out our free disability evaluation form today! The SSDI claims process can take several months so do not wait any further to apply. If you know right now that your disability could last a year or more, fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Missouri
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Missouri State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- State of Missouri Disability Portal (Employment): This website provides links to several employment resources for those with disabilities.
- 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.
- Food Stamp Program: This 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.
- Telecommunications Access Program: This program helps those with a disability who have difficulties using the phone or internet get special telecommunications equipment.