How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

Applying for Disability in North Dakota

How to apply and qualify for SSD, SSI in North Dakota (ND)

Note: If you have already filed a claim and been denied for disability, or are wondering what to do in the event of a Social Security denial, proceed to the reconsideration and hearing appeal sections below.

Level I: Disability Application - As is the case in most states, an application for disability in North Dakota is more likely to be denied than approved. Appproval and denial rates in North Dakota generally follow the pattern in which cases are initially denied at the application level, are denied again at the reconsideration level, and are finally approved at a Social Security hearing conducted by an administrative law judge. This is not always the case, but in a typical year between 60-70 percent of initial claims will be denied, making it necessary for a claimant to file appeals.

In most cases, a claim for disability in North Dakota will be filed at a local Social Security office where a disability interview will be conducted by a CR, or claims representative. Claims can be filed online but online filing does not allow a claim for SSI to be filed, nor does it allow a claimant to directly ask questions during the interview process.

The purpose of the interview is for the claimant to supply all the information that is necessary for processing the case, i.e. rendering a decision of disabled, or not disabled. The bulk of the information gathered by the CR will concern the claimant's history of medical treatment as well as their work history.

Claimants should be careful, when supplying information regarding their work and medical histories, to not make the mistake of assuming that the Social Security Administration can independently gather any information that the claimant leaves out. This includes dates of treatment (dates of treatment can be especially important for determining onset, which can directly affect the amount of back pay a claimant receives), names of clinics and hospitals (disability examiners have access to a medical database but to request records they need an accurate name to begin with), and job titles and work descriptions.

Accurately describing one's past jobs can have a direct influence on the outcome of a case because one of the responsibilities of a disability claims examiner is determining whether or not the claimant can return to their past work.

  • Disability application denial rate: 61.1 percent.
  • Disability application approval rate: 38.9 percent.

    Level II: Request for Reconsideration - If an individual applying for disability in North Dakota is denied on their initial claim, i.e. disability application, they may file an appeal known as a request for reconsideration.

    Claimants who are represented by a disability representative--either a disability lawyer or a non-attorney disability representative--will have their appeal completed by the representative. Claimants who do not have representation may contact the Social Security office where their claim was initiated and request the appeal.

    After making the appeal request, Social Security will send out the appropriate appeal paperwork, including a disability report form. In completing the disability report form, it will be important for the claimant to indicate any new medical treatment sources, new visits to existing sources, changes in one's medical condition, or newly diagnosed conditions. Supplying this updated information will alert the reconsideration-level examiner to obtain these medical records.

    The reconsideration appeal must be submitted before the appeal deadline. Social Security always allows 60 days, plus 5 extra days to account for mailing time, for the submission of any appeal. To be received timely, though, the appeal must actually be received by the Social Security by the 65th day from the date of the last denial (in this case, the denial of the disability application). The denial date is usually stamped in the upper right hand corner of the letter of denial, also known as the notice of disapproved claim.

    How is the decision on a reconsideration made?

    A reconsideration is procedurally no different from a disability application. That is to say that after a reconsideration request is made, the claimant's case is sent to the DDS, or disability determination services, agency in the claimant's state. At the DDS, the case will be assigned to a disability claims examiner who will review the evidence of the case in order to render a decision.

    In certain instances, the examiner will only need to rely on the medical evidence for a disability decision. This is when it is clear that the claimant has a medical condition that meets or equals the requirements of a Social Security listing. However, satisfying disability qualifications can be very difficult and the majority of approved claims are approved through a medical vocational allowance.

    In a medical vocational allowance, the claimant's case is subjected to a five step sequential evaluation process that takes into account both the claimant's medical history and work history. If the examiner finds that the claimant has functional limitations that are severe enough to prevent a return to work activity at the level of SGA (substantial gainful activity) earnings, the claimant will usually qualify to receive ongoing monthly benefits and, generally, some amount of Social Security back pay.

    Reconsiderations are typically denied. The rate of denial at this level of the system exceeds the denial rate at the application level. For this reason, claimants who are filing a reconsideration appeal should prepare for the strong possibility of being denied for disability benefits and, likewise, prepared to file the next appeal, a request for a disability hearing. At the Social Security hearing level, the odds of being approved go up substantially provided that the claimant has supplied the proper evidence to satisfy the Social Security Administration definition of disability.

  • Reconsideration appeal denial rate: 84.5 percent.
  • Reconsideration appeal approval rate: 15.5 percent.

    Level III: Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge - The disability hearing is the second Social Security appeal available to claimants and may be requested only after a reconsideration appeal has been denied.

    Like all appeals, the hearing must be requested within 60 days of the date of the prior denial, but, ideally, should be requested immediately after receiving notification of the denial of the reconsideration appeal to avoid unnecessary case processing delays, as well as the possibility of a missed appeal deadline.

    Basic facts about disability hearings

  • Disability Hearing denial rate: 47.5 percent
  • Disability Hearing approval rate: 52.5 percent

    Note: The approval rate for the Fargo ND disability hearing office is in line with the national average for cases that are decided at the hearing level, as well as being line with the disability award rate for SSA Region 8. Claimants should note that in North Dakota, the chance of being denied at the hearing level is nearly as great as the chance of being approved.

    Essential Questions

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    Individual Questions and Answers

  • What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? - Part I

  • What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits? Part II

  • Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

  • Disability Criteria - Eligibility For Social Security and SSI Disability

  • How far back are Social Security Disability benefits awarded on an appeal?

  • How long does a request for a disability hearing appeal take?

  • Responsibilities of the Disability Representative Before and After the Social Security Hearing

  • How Long Does It Take To Get Disability Benefits When You First File?

  • Filing for disability by state of residence

  • Disability Lawyers by state

    For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

    The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

    To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.