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South Dakota Disability Benefits

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Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of South Dakota


At 50%, South Dakota has the highest rate of employment in the nation for people with disabilities. However, there are medical conditions that can be extremely debilitating and prevent people from working at any job, even if there are jobs at hand. Without a means to make a living, this type of situation can easily drain you of your financial resources. Federal programs like the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide financial assistance in such cases. In South Dakota, more than 35% of those who receive regular SSDI benefits are those with disabilities related to a mental health disorder. Other diagnostics include disabilities related to diseases stemming from the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Whatever the reason for your disability, SSDI can provide regular benefits if you meet the SSDI eligibility criteria.

DU Infographics South Dakota State

  • You must meet a medical condition listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book or have an impairment that is equivalent to a listing.
  • You must be unable to work in any substantial gainful activity because of your condition.
  • You must have contributed to the Social Security system and have earned enough work credits.


On average, about 40% of the applicants in South Dakota are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.


Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in South Dakota


About 12.9% of residents in South Dakota suffer from a disability.


The SSA carefully considers all claims for SSDI based on medical and non-medical criteria. The Blue Book lists hundreds of impairments that qualify for benefits but it is not an exhaustive list. New medical conditions are continually being added to the list. If your condition matches a listing in the Blue Book it is automatically approved at the initial application process. However, if your condition is not listed in the Blue Book you will need to demonstrate that your disability prevents you from earning a substantial income. To determine your ability to work, the SSA will evaluate the mental and physical limitations of your disability and measure your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). They will review your medical records and look at the last 15 years of your employment history. Other factors such as age and educational qualifications are taken into consideration and will affect your eligibility and benefit amount. When your condition does not meet a Blue Book listing but the SSA determines that you cannot work at any job because of your disability, you may be approved for SSDI benefits through what is called a medical vocational allowance.


The entire process can take 3 to 5 months. Part of the delay may be due to a large volume of backlog in the SSA system. In most cases, the delay is usually because claimants fail to provide complete or accurate information. It is necessary to provide the details of the names, addresses and contact information of treatment centers and physicians who have treated you, as well as your employment history. You may even want to consider taking the help of an advocate from Disability United at this time. Knowing how the SSDI claims process works can help you better understand why this information is pertinent to the determination process.


Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.




In the state of South Dakota there are 6 Social Security offices. If there’s an office close to you it is always better to apply in-person. But if this is not possible you can make an application online or by phone. The SSA receives your application and transfers it to a state agency usually called the Disability Determination Services (DDS). The DDS is responsible for making a determination on your claim. At the DDS, a Social Security Disability examiner is assigned to your case. He will request for your medical records from the treatment centers you have listed and if necessary, may consult with medical and vocational experts to confirm your condition. You may be called for an interview in person or via video or telephone if you are not able to come in person.


Only 39.9% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in South Dakota. The majority will receive a denial notice. If you do not agree with the denial decision you can appeal. The process of appeals, consisting of 4 stages, actually gives you a much better chance of getting your claim approved.


  1. Reconsideration: This stage is similar to the initial application process except another disability examiner reviews your case. While the chances of success are slim at this stage, it is a stepping stone to the next stage which gives claimants the highest rate of success. In South Dakota, approvals at the reconsideration stage are on average 15.4%.
  2. The Court Hearing: An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) will review your case. His decision will be independent of the previous two disability examiners and you have an added advantage of presenting testimonies from your treatment physician and other medical and vocational experts. You will be able to testify for yourself and present evidence that demonstrates you meet the SSA definition of disability. In South Dakota, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 51.3%.
  3. The Appeals Council: Most people do not go further than the hearing stage but if you do decide to go the appeals council, they will do one of three things. Agree with the hearing decision, send your case to another ALJ or deny your claim.
  4. Federal Review: Very few actually reach this stage of the appeals process. It is a long-drawn, expensive process that rarely yields success. Most applicants choose to start the SSDI process all over again, especially if their condition has taken a turn for the worse.


There are time limits to making an appeal. It’s generally 60 days from the date of the denial notice. If you do not file an appeal in time, your appeal may be dismissed which means that you will not be able to proceed to the next stage of the appeals process. You may lose valuable time by having to start the SSDI application process all over again.


Hiring an attorney to represent you for the hearing is good advice. Not only will this increase your chances of getting your claim approved but it will also relieve you of the stress and anxiety of having to represent yourself, especially when coping with a disability that doesn’t allow much mobility. Advocates at Disability United are experienced in SSDI matters and will help you gather evidence and witnesses that will bolster to your case.


Find out if you’re eligible for SSDI benefits. Fill out our free disability evaluation form today.


The SSDI process can be long and since the vast majority have to go through the appeals process, it is prudent to start the process early as possible. If you know your disability could prevent you from working for at least a year, you should begin the SSDI claims process now. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.


Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in South Dakota


If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the South Dakota State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:


  • South 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.
  • Low Income Energy 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 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.