Will I Qualify For Disability Benefits in Indiana?

The first step to qualifying for Social Security Disability in Indiana is filing a disability application with Social Security. You can file a disability application by phone or in person at any of the 26 Social Security district offices in Indiana. If you do not know where your local Social Security office is located, you can find out by using the Social Security office locator on the SSA website.

You can also file your disability application online. If you chose to do so, you will complete the application, disability report form, and a medical release form. However, if you fail to complete these forms after starting the process online, Social Security will have to try to contact you to complete these forms. If they are unable to reach you, they may deny your disability claim.

Another negative to filing your disability claim online is that you are not able to file an online application for the need-based SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability program. If you feel you may meet the SSI income and resource limits, you should file your disability application with your local Social Security office.

If you file at a Social Security office, a claims representative will complete all of the necessary disability forms and evaluate your eligibility for SSI disability. Once all of the forms are completed your disability claim is ready to be for a disability determination.

Disability Decisions in Indiana

Social Security offices in Indiana send disability claims to a state agency contracted by Social Security to make their disability determinations. The Indiana state agency responsible for Social Security Disability determinations is the Disability Determination Bureau (DDB).

Once your disability case is at DDB, it will be assigned to a disability examiner for a disability determination. The examiner reviews your disability case and requests medical records from the sources you provided when you filed your disability application.

If the disability examiner feels that you do not have enough medical information or you have no current medical treatment evidence (medical treatment within the last ninety days), they may schedule a consultative examination to get the necessary evidence.

Social Security does not necessarily require a disability applicant to have medical treatment notes from a regularly seen physician (though the opinion of a treating physician can provide the basis for an approval) but they do require some type of current medical evidence to make their disability determination. After they receive all of the information they need, they will make a disability determination.

Indiana has an initial claim approval rate of 29.1% which is lower than the national average of 32.1%.

Filing a reconsideration disability appeal in Indiana

If your disability claim is denied or you are not satisfied with your disability decision, you can appeal the decision. Indiana has the same appeal process as every other state.

If your initial disability claim is denied, you file a reconsideration appeal. Reconsideration appeals usually do not result in a qualification for disability. Reconsiderations are sent back to the same disability agency for a decision that made the initial disability decision; consequently it is unlikely that a reconsideration appeal will result in an approval unless the first disability examiner made an error or there is new medical evidence to support an allowance.

The Indiana reconsideration appeal approval rate of 4.8 % is significantly worse than the national average of 11.3%.

The disability hearing appeal in Indiana

If your reconsideration appeal is denied, you can appeal your denial by requesting a disability hearing before an administrative law judge. Unlike the reconsideration appeal, disability hearings have a much higher approval rate.

Administrative law judges have more flexibility when they make their decision. For one thing, no one reviews their disability decisions. By contrast, disability examiners have unit medical professionals, case consultants, unit managers, and quality control units reviewing their disability determinations. They have very little flexibility when making their determinations.

Even at the hearing level, the most winnable level of the Social Security Disability process, Indiana's approval rate of 52.9% is lower than the national average of 58.3%.

If you are denied at your disability hearing, you have the choice of filing a request for an Appeals Council review of the administrative law judge's decision, or filing a new disability claim. For most, the Appeals Council Review will not result in an approval for disability. Therefore, you will have to decide if you are willing to wait for a decision or file a new disability claim. If you have a Social Security representative, they can help you how to proceed with your disability claim.

Statistical data suggests that it is harder to qualify for Social Security Disability in Indiana than many other states. For this reason, it would be advisable to consider the services of a professional Social Security Disability representative. Social Security representatives can often dramatically increase the chances of qualifying for Social Security Disability or SSI at the disability hearing level in all states.

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Individual Questions and Answers

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