Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of North Dakota
North Dakota is among the top 5 states where disabled workers can find employment more easily. Over 50% of North Dakota’s disabled workers are engaged in some type of work. While that’s great news it is of little help to those who are living in North Dakota and have a disability that prevents them from working at any kind of job. With no way to earn a living the situation can become financially difficult for some people. Federal programs like the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide financial assistance in such cases.
Because of the high employability rate of disabled workers, North Dakota is among the top 5 states with the least number of people on the SSDI beneficiary list. As with most other states, mental health disorders and diseases related to the musculoskeletal system are the top two diagnostics for which people receive benefits.
You, too, can receive SSDI benefits if you fall under their eligibility criteria:
- Your disability must meet the definition described by the Social Security department. This means that you must meet an impairment listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book or have a disability that is equivalent to a listing.
- You must be unable to work at any job or engage in any substantial gainful activity because of your disability.
- You must have earned enough work credits in the Social Security system.
In North Dakota about 38.9% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in North Dakota
About 10.1% of residents in North Dakota suffer from a disability.
If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can be approved for SSDI benefits in two ways.
The first way is by meeting a medical condition listed in the Blue Book. Approvals are usually quick and easy for applicants who meet an exact listing. The SSA will expedite the process for cases that are extremely severe or terminal.
Although the Blue Book is being continually updated it may not list the medical condition you suffer from, or your medical condition may not exactly meet a listing. If your condition does not meet a listing but is equally debilitating, you can be approved for SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance. You must be able show the SSA that you cannot go back to work and you cannot be trained for another job because of your condition. To evaluate your condition, the SSA will review your medical and work history of the last 15 years. You must provide the SSA with detailed information complete with contact details of your past employers. The SSA will also measure your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) which is as assessment of your mental and physical capabilities. The questionnaire will include queries related to limitations you experience in vision, posture, communication and environment. You will be asked questions such as how long you can sit, stand, walk, and how many pounds you are able to lift occasionally. The SSA will also factor in other criteria such as your age and educational qualifications to reach a decision.
The initial application process can take 3 to 5 months. You may experience a delay if there is a backlog in the system or if you haven’t provided complete or accurate information to the SSA on your form. Knowing how the SSDI claims process works is a good way to understand what the SSA is looking for. Another way to make sure you have filed all the necessary information is by taking the help of an advocate at Disability United. Professional help will give you confidence that you have provided all the information that the SSA needs.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
In the state of North Dakota there are 7 Social Security offices. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you.
The SSA receives your application form and sends it to a state agency, usually called a Disability Determination Services (DDS). Here, your case will be assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner whose job it is to retrieve your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed. He may consult with medical and/or vocational experts to help him make a careful and thorough decision.
Only 38.9% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in North Dakota. The vast majority will receive a denial notice. If you disagree with the SSA’s decision, you may request for an appeal. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This stage is similar to the initial application process. Your file is transferred to another disability examiner at the DDS who reviews the decision of the previous disability examiner. Unless the first examiner has overlooked important details that could reverse the determination or your condition has taken a downturn, your chances of approval at this stage are not very high. The average approval rate in North Dakota at this stage is 15.5%.
- The Court Hearing: Your case is moved outside the DDS office and is usually held at a place within 75 miles of your home. It is not a court room setting but an office where you and your representative, if you have one, make your case to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You may bring medical and vocational experts to provide their testimonies. In North Dakota, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 52.5%.
- The Appeals Council: All requests for appeals at this stage are sent to the Office of the Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia. The Council may send your case to another ALJ for review or decide the case themselves.
- Federal Review: Not many resort to this last stage of the appeals process. The majority stops after the hearing level. You may start the SSDI application process all over again if you do not want to resort to this level of the appeals process.
Appeals are time sensitive and must be filed within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. If your appeal does not reach the SSA office in time they are not obligated to accept it unless you can state a good reason for the delay. You are well-advised to take the help of an advocate especially during the appeals stage to help make sure you meet the deadlines and to increase your chances of getting your claim approved. Having an advocate is known to raise your chance of a successful claims approval by up to 60%. That is because attorneys are very well experienced in SSDI claims cases. They know the kind of evidence that is needed and how to present it before the ALJ in technical jargon that a claimant may not be familiar with.
Are you ready to find out whether your condition can qualify for SSDI benefits? Fill out our free disability evaluation form today.
If your disability is projected to last a year or more, we would advise you to start the SSDI application process now. Considering how long the claims process takes, it’s prudent to start applying early. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in North Dakota
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the North Dakota State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- North Dakota Department of Human Services: 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.