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How To Apply For Disability Benefits in Michigan


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Understanding how to apply for disability in Michigan is the first step toward getting the benefits that you need and deserve. Federal SSI and SSDI programs can provide you with hundreds of dollars a month to help you manage your regular living expenses such as food and housing.

What is SSI and SSDI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides financial assistance for certain individuals. Eligibility is based on an individual's income, resources, age, and disability. 

If you suffer from blindness or disability, you are eligible for SSI at any age. Without a qualifying disability, you must be at least 65 years old to apply for SSI. The average monthly benefit for SSI was $577 as of November 2020. The maximum benefit available in 2021 is $794 a month for a single individual or $1,191 a month for a married couple.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is financial assistance that's available to individuals who are disabled and have a qualifying work history. The average monthly benefit for SSDI was $1,128 as of November 2020. The maximum benefit allowed in 2021 is $3,148 a month.

It is possible to qualify for both SSI and SSDI, so it's helpful to know about both of these programs.

How to Apply for SSI in Michigan

To simplify the application process, it's best to verify your eligibility for SSI before you begin. You can do this quickly and easily by checking the requirements provided by the Social Security Administration. You must be blind, disabled, or at least 65 years of age to apply for disability in Michigan. In addition, you must have a limited income, limited resources, and U.S. citizenship.

For the purposes of this application, your income includes:

  • Earned income such as wages or royalties.

  • Unearned income such as Social Security benefits, state disability payments, and unemployment benefits.

  • In-kind income such as food or shelter that's provided free or at a discounted rate.

  • Deemed income such as income from a spouse or parents that reside with you.

Your resources include your:

  • Cash.

  • Investments.

  • Vehicles.

  • Land.

  • Personal property.

  • Life insurance.

If you believe you may be eligible for SSI benefits, you can apply online, in person, or by phone. Gather all applicable documentation before you begin so you can proceed through the application as smoothly as possible. You may need to have your:

  • Social security card.

  • Birth certificate.

  • Citizenship status record.

  • Proof of income including payroll stubs, tax returns, and bank statements.

  • Proof of resources including the deed for your home, life or disability insurance policy information, and vehicle registrations.

  • Proof of your living arrangements.

  • Medical documents pertaining to your blindness or disability.

  • Work history.

How to Apply for SSDI in Michigan

You can apply for SSDI benefits in Michigan online, by phone, or in person. You will need to have the following information to complete the application:

  • Date and place of birth.

  • The beginning and ending dates of your marriage(s).

  • Names and birth dates for children who are unmarried and under the age of 18, 18 or 19 and in school full-time, or became disabled before the age of 22.

  • Details regarding any military service.

  • Employer or self-employment details for the current year and two years prior.

  • Information on the type of work you did over the 15 years prior to your disability.

  • The date your medical condition impacted your ability to work.

  • A list of your medical conditions.

  • Records of medical examinations, treatments, tests, and medications.

  • Records pertaining to workers' compensation, vocational rehabilitation services, public welfare, or prison/jail.

  • Records regarding job training, trade school, vocational school, or college education.

Upon completion of your application, you must provide the Social Security Administration with your birth certificate or proof of birth, proof of citizenship if born outside the U.S., discharge papers for military service before 1968, tax forms for the previous year, medical records and evidence, and proof of any workers' compensation-type benefits you receive.

Filing for Disability in Michigan

If you need to find the Social Security field office, Disability Determinations Services office, or an Office of Disability Adjudication and Review closest to you, click here.

You have a few options for applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You may apply online, over the phone, or in person.

    • Online: Use the SSA’s website at ssa.gov.

    • Phone: Call the SSA’s toll-free number AT 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)

  • In-person: Go to your closest Social Security field office, which you can find here.

What Qualifies You for Disability in Michigan?

In addition to the SSI and SSDI benefits discussed above, you may also qualify for state disability assistance from the state of Michigan. This assistance is available to disabled adults, caretakers of disabled adults, and certain individuals aged 65 or older. Michigan considers an individual disabled if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have certification from MDHHS medical consultants indicating that they were unable to work due to a disability for at least 90 days.

  • Reside in a special care facility.

  • Receive disability benefits like Medicaid based on their disability or blindness.

To get disability benefits from the state of Michigan, you must reside in Michigan and you cannot be receiving cash from any other state. The cash asset limit for Michigan disability was $15,000 as of December 2019. You must fall under this threshold and meet other income requirements to get disability benefits.

What Medical Conditions Get Approved Automatically for Disability?

You are considered disabled if you suffer from a condition that prevents you from doing the work you did before and prevents you from adjusting to other work. The condition must last or be expected to last for at least a year or result in death.

How Long Does It Take to Get Approved for Disability in Michigan?

On average, applications for SSI or SSDI benefits are processed three to five months after the date of the application. 

SSI benefits typically begin in the first full month after the SSI claim was filed. If processing for the claim takes a month or more, SSI benefits will begin on the date that the individual is found eligible. 

SSDI benefits begin in the sixth full month of disability. This six-month period begins with the first full month after the individual's disability began. 

Social Security Disability Appeal Hearings

There are 70 administrative law judges making decisions in court regarding Social Security Disability disputes throughout the seven hearing offices in the state. The Flint Office has the greatest approval rate (56%) out of all the hearing offices in Michigan.

Michigan’s hearing process is more effective than most other states. We have reduced waiting periods, reduced processing periods, greater approval rates, and fewer cases dismissed.

What State is the Fastest to Get Disability?

SSI and SSDI are federal programs, so the approval time is the same regardless of the state that you live in. You should apply for these benefits as soon as possible if you're dealing with a disability.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

If you’re disabled and wish to return to work but don’t know where to start, Vocational Rehabilitation Services can help. This program assists disabled Michiganders prepare, obtain, and retain employment.

If you’re not already on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you’ll need to apply for Vocational Rehabilitation Services at your local office. To find your nearest office, click here.

We’re Here to Help

If you need assistance filing for SSI or SSDI benefits, our team at Goodman Acker P.C. is here to help. We have helped many other Michiganders obtain the benefits they needed, and we can help you, too. Don’t hesitate to contact our office with any questions you may have.

Call Goodman Acker P.C. today at (248) 286-8100 to discuss the details of your case.