Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Wyoming
Being disabled because of a medical condition or injury is often challenging enough. Combine that with not being able to work at all for a year or more and that could make things even more difficult. If you’re in such a position and need financial assistance, you may apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
Eligibility is based on medical and non-medical criteria such as:
- Inability to perform in substantial gainful activity because of a disability.
- You have worked long enough and recent enough to earn sufficient work credits.
- Your disability is likely to last at least 12 months.
- Your disability meets the description of a listing in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book or is equivalent to a listing.
In Wyoming about 49.5% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.
Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Wyoming
About 12.2% of residents in Wyoming suffer from a disability. There are two ways SSDI benefits can be approved. One way is by meeting an exact listing in the Blue Book. The SSA will approve your benefits automatically if you meet one or more of the impairments listed in the Blue Book.
The other way is through a medical vocational allowance. This is how the majority of people who apply for benefits will be approved for benefits since most people will not meet an exact listing in the Blue Book but will have a disability that is comparable to a Blue Book listing. In such cases, the SSA will be looking at your medical and work records along with your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). RFC is a measurement of your mental and physical capabilities that apply to work-related activities such as walking, sitting, being able to remember and follow instructions, etc. The SSA will use all this information to decide one of three things:
- You can return to your work in spite of your disability.
- Your skills can be transferred to another job and you can continue to earn a substantial gainful income.
- You cannot work at any job, and therefore, are not able to earn a substantial amount of income.
SSDI benefits through a medical vocational allowance are approved only to those who cannot work at any job.
The entire process can take 3 to 5 months, often longer. One of the most common reasons for a delay in the SSDI process is because of applicants having filed incomplete information or even inaccurate information on their forms. It is important to be as detailed as possible regarding your medical and work history. Applicants will find it helpful to review the entire SSDI process and learn how it works.
Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.
In the state of Wyoming there are 4 Social Security offices. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you.
The Social Security office will receive your forms and make sure that you meet the non-medical criteria for SSDI qualifications. They will then send your file to a state agency usually called the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Here a disability examiner, trained in the Social Security law, will review your case. He will retrieve all your medical records from the treatment centers you have provided and may require you to undergo further examinations in order to make a careful and thorough determination.
About 50% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Wyoming. The other half who received a denial notice will need to go through the appeals system where there is an equally good chance that your claim will be approved. The process of appeals consists of 4 stages.
- Reconsideration: This stage is similar to the initial application process. Your file remains with the DDS except it is assigned to a different disability examiner. You may submit more recent medical evidence if there has been a change in your condition. The rate of approval at this stage in Wyoming is 6%.
- The Court Hearing: Here, your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). You and any medical and vocational witnesses you bring to the hearing will be asked to testify under oath or affirmation. Testimonies will be recorded verbatim. After reviewing all the evidence the ALJ will make a decision that is solely based on the evidence you provide at the hearing. In Wyoming, the approval rate at the disability hearing level is 51.3%.
- The Appeals Council: The Council will review the decision made by the ALJ. The Council can reverse the decision of the ALJ, dismiss or deny your case.
- Federal Review: Most people go up to the first two levels of the appeals process but rarely reach this last level. However, if you do not agree with the decision of the Appeals Council, you may take your case to a federal court.
At every level of the appeals process, you must file an appeal within the stipulated time limit which is within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. Most claimants are advised to hire the help of an advocate particularly if they want to appeal a denial notice. Having someone on your side who is well-experienced in SSDI claims and knows exactly what to do not only increases your chances of a successful appeal but may relieve you of some of the anxiety that comes from having to represent yourself. Advocates at Disability United are available free of cost.
Before we start the claims process, fill out our free disability evaluation form to find out whether you qualify for benefits.
If you are unable to work for at least 12 months because of a medical condition, you should file for SSDI benefits as soon as possible. Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.
Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Wyoming
If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Wyoming State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:
- Vocational Rehabilitation: 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.