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Idaho Disability Benefits: How to Qualify, Apply, and Get Approved

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
March 8, 2023  ·  8 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

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Many Americans have health problems that significantly impact their ability to work. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), about 49,000 people in Idaho currently receive disability benefits. While benefits can provide financial stability and improve your quality of life, they aren’t the easiest to get. We’ve compiled all the information you need about applying and qualifying for disability benefits in Idaho.


What Idaho disability program should I apply for?

Idaho doesn’t have its own disability program, but Idaho residents with disabilities can still apply for certain state and federal programs:

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): If you have an illness that leaves you unable to work and you’ve worked and paid taxes for at least five out of the past 10 years, you may qualify for SSDI. This federal program provides monthly benefits to individuals with disabilities. The size of your payments is influenced by your work and income history. SSDI also provides Medicare coverage.

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI): People who don’t qualify for SSDI may qualify for SSI, a similarly structured federal program that provides monthly benefits and Medicaid to people with disabilities. It’s available for people with low income and little or no work history.

3. Veterans disability benefits: Active military members and retired veterans are eligible to apply for disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they have a service-related injury that’s left them unable to work. Learn more about how Atticus can help you with veterans disability benefits.

4. Private disability insurance: Insurance companies and employers often offer short-term and long-term disability insurance policies. With an active short-term or long-term disability insurance policy, you are eligible to file a claim if you become disabled. Monthly benefits pay out at up to 60% of your income and last for months or years.

Throughout the rest of the guide, we’ll only focus on SSDI and SSI. They’re the most common types of disability benefits for Idaho residents. Plus, even if you receive private insurance or VA benefits, you may still qualify for Social Security disability.

Skip the reading. See which benefits you qualify for in 2-minutes or less.

How to qualify for disability in Idaho

You must meet medical and technical requirements to qualify for SSDI and SSI. While the medical qualifications are the same for both programs, the technical qualifications differ.

Medical qualifications for SSDI and SSI

The SSA defines disability as having a medical condition that leaves you unable to work for at least one year. You must prove to the SSA that you have a disability in order to meet the medical qualifications for SSDI and SSI. Documentation like lab work, treatment plans, doctor’s notes, imaging results, or other medical reports will help you show your condition’s impact.

The SSA automatically accepts some conditions, which you can find on its compassionate allowance list. The list includes life-threatening, chronic, and other severe conditions.

Applicants under the age of 50 have to prove they can’t do any type of work due to their health condition. The rules are less strict once you’re over 50. You only need to show that you can’t do the types of work you’ve done in the past.

Technical SSDI qualifications

There are two criteria for SSDI applicants:

  • You must be younger than 66 years old.
  • You have to meet the minimum requirement for work credits as defined by the SSA. It’s easy to check whether you have enough work credits. Create a free mySocialSecurity account on SSA.gov. You’re likely to qualify if you’ve worked at least five out of the past 10 years.

Learn more about the technical SSDI qualifications.

Technical SSI qualifications

SSI applicants must meet two technical criteria:

  • Make less than $943 per month in total income.
  • Have little to no assets or savings. Specifically, you must have less than $2,000 if you’re single or $3,000 if you’re married.

For more, see our guide to the technical SSI qualifications.


Conditions that qualify for disability in Idaho

According to the SSA, a qualifying condition is one that is expected to last for one year or more and leaves you unable to work. Overall, there are hundreds of conditions that qualify for disability.

Common conditions that qualify in Idaho

Based on the number of disabled people in Idaho with disability benefits (by condition), the most common qualifying disabilities are:

  • Mental health conditions: 37.8%
  • Musculoskeletal disorders: 28.6%
  • Neurological (nervous system) disorders: 11.4%
  • Cardiovascular (circulatory system) disorders: 4.9%
  • Injuries: 3.4%
  • Cancers (neoplasms): 2.8%
  • Respiratory conditions: 2.4%
  • Endocrine disorders: 2.2%
  • Digestive system disorders: 1.8%
  • Genitourinary disorders (kidney disease): 1.2%
  • Congenital anomalies (birth defects): 0.7%
  • Infectious and parasitic diseases: 0.5%
  • Hematological (blood) disorders: 0.2%
  • Skin conditions: 0.2%
  • Other qualifying conditions: 0.2%

Mental health conditions also qualify for disability but have stricter requirements. The three most common for Idaho residents are:

  • Depression, bipolar disorder, and related disorders: 5,646 people
  • Intellectual disorders: 4,419 people
  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders: 2,199 people

Related: How Hard is it to get disability for mental health?


How to apply for disability in Idaho

The first step to applying for Social Security disability benefits is completing the main disability application. You also need to complete supplemental forms like a work history report, which details prior work experience, and a function report, where you explain how your condition affects your daily functioning.

Filling out the application is easier with assistance from a disability lawyer. They can guide you on how to answer questions and might even fill out the forms for you. We’ve also created guides on how to apply for disability benefits for your child or how to apply for another loved one.

How to prepare your application

Before you begin the application, make sure to allocate enough time. Collecting documents and supplemental information takes longer than you might think. Working with a lawyer can help, but there are also steps you can take to get ahead.

  • Gather your personal records. Your work history and medical records are the first documents you should gather. Medical records can include treatment plans, imaging, and results from blood or lab work. You also need your doctor’s contact information.
  • Be honest about your health conditions. Being honest while you’re completing the application is essential because the SSA looks for contradictions across all the forms you submit. Describe your symptoms on your average or worst days, but don’t exaggerate to make your condition sound worse than it is.
  • Submit the application and all supplemental documents. Make sure to submit all the necessary forms and to answer all the questions on those forms. Leaving questions blank or forgetting to submit something can cause delays or lead to the SSA denying your disability claim.
  • Follow up with the SSA after you submit. Due to the high volume of applications the SSA receives each month, you will want to follow up with your local office to ensure they’ve received and are processing your application. If you’re working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you.
  • Respond to any requests from the SSA immediately. If the SSA requests additional documentation, responding quickly helps prevent extra delays. You usually have 10 days to respond but we recommend replying as quickly as possible.

For more help on getting started, here’s our step-by-step guide to the disability application.

3 ways to submit your application

There are three ways to file the disability benefits application:

  1. Apply online through the SSA website.
  2. Apply over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or your local office.
  3. Apply in person at your local SSA office.

Applying in person is a good option if you aren’t working with a lawyer because you’ll have access to the advice of the SSA staff. They can’t tell you whether or not your answers are good (that would qualify as legal advice, but they can tell you how to accurately answer the questions.

Further reading: How a lawyer can help your disability application

Getting help with the application

Speaking with a disability lawyer is something we recommend when you file for disability. They’ll help you throughout every step of the process. They’ll help you fill out the application correctly, file appeals, and represent you in a hearing — something most applicants need to get benefits. A lawyer can make applying less stressful, and applicants with a lawyer are more likely to win benefits.

At Atticus, we provide free legal advice on applying for disability benefits and help you find a lawyer that’s a good fit. Fill out our 2-minute disability quiz to get started.


Work with a great disability lawyer in Idaho.

What happens after you apply for disability?

After you submit the application, SSA staff will review it and your supplemental documents and determine whether you meet the technical requirements. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) oversees the review of medical records and other health-related submissions.

During the review process, an in-person interview might also be required, so the SSA can learn more about the specifics of your situation. You might have to do a consultative exam, which is a health exam by an SSA doctor.

On average, it takes six months to get a final decision on your application.


Your chances of getting approved for benefits

Around 70% of cases are rejected after the initial application. After a denial, filing for reconsideration is the next step. About 90% of applications are rejected at this stage too. After this, you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Statistically, hearings are the best way to have your case accepted. In 2022, 54% of people that received a hearing won benefits. Working with a lawyer for your hearing is best — you’re three times more likely to win with a lawyer than without one.

Learn more about the odds of winning a disability appeal.


How long does it take to get disability benefits in Idaho?

In the United States, it takes more than two years for the average applicant to receive approval for disability benefits. This lengthy wait results from most cases going through several appeals before receiving a final decision. 

Exactly how long your claim takes to process varies, but here’s a breakdown of the average wait times at each stage:

  • Initial decision: 6.1 months (187 days)
  • Reconsideration decision: 4.9 months (147 days)
  • Time to get a hearing: 7 months (plus 1-3 more months to get a decision)

Unfortunately, there’s not much that you can do to make the process faster. One thing you can do is respond quickly to all SSA requests to prevent additional delays.

A disability lawyer can help you submit a stronger application from the beginning, plus they’ll help you navigate the entire application process to ensure you don’t miss any deadlines.

Try not to be disheartened by how long it takes to complete your application for disability benefits, though. Your first SSA check will include back pay, covering the months or years it took to receive a final decision.

Related: How to Find a Good Disability Lawyer Near You


How much are disability benefits in Idaho?

The monthly amount you receive is based on your work history, your previous income, and the program you qualify for. In some cases, you can even get SSI and SSDI at the same time.

Average SSDI payments in Idaho

Idaho residents get, on average, $1,334.02 per month in SSDI benefits. As of 2024, the most you can receive is $3,822 per month. Work history and income are the two factors that determine your benefits. Your location doesn’t affect how much you get. To see how much your SSDI check will be, log into your SSA.gov account:

Average SSI payments in Idaho

The average monthly SSI benefit is $612.03 for Idaho residents, while the maximum possible payment is $943 in 2024. If you don’t have any income, you’ll receive the full $943 each month. If you do have monthly income, you can calculate your SSI check by subtracting it from the maximum benefits amount.

Learn more about how SSI and SSDI benefits are calculated.


How to find a disability lawyer in Idaho

Hiring a disability lawyer is an invaluable investment. They can complete the application for you, handle communication with the SSA, and represent you at hearings. The knowledge and expertise of a good attorney can significantly increase your chances of winning benefits.

While searching for a disability lawyer in Idaho, here are three important factors:

  1. Communication: While there are periods where you won’t communicate with your lawyer, having one that remains accessible is vital. You want a lawyer that provides regular updates and answers to your questions.
  2. Experience: A seasoned lawyer that specializes in disability benefits cases brings years of experience and knowledge to the table, using it to help you win benefits. Avoid a lawyer who primarily focuses on another area of law but also handles disability cases.
  3. Reviews: It’s always best to read reviews from previous clients. Pay attention to how clients describe their experience with the lawyer and be on the lookout for consistently negative reviews or reports of poor communication.

At Atticus, we simplify the process of finding a good lawyer. We’ve vetted firms from across the country so we can quickly match you with the right lawyer for your case — someone who will show you respect and treat you like a priority. Our services are also completely free. To get matched with a lawyer today, fill out our disability quiz, and we’ll reach out to learn more about your situation.

Get free legal help (and a lawyer — only if you want one)

Frequently asked questions about Idaho disability benefits

What qualifies you for disability in Idaho?

To qualify for disability you must have a medical condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) and be within certain income limits (for SSI). Read more on these requirements here.

What conditions qualify for disability in Idaho?

Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of qualifying conditions.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Idaho?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Idaho. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes just over two years on average. Read more: How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for Disability benefits?

How much does disability pay in Idaho? 

The average SSDI payment in Idaho is $1,334.02 per month. The average SSI payment is $612.03. What you’ll earn depends on your income or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Idaho?

Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.

Does Idaho have a state disability program?

No, Idaho doesn't have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Idaho can apply for the federal disability programs of SSDI and SSI. Learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI.


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Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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