Wyoming Disability Benefits: Qualifying, Applying, and Getting Approved
February 2, 2023 · 8 min read
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There are more than 14,000 Wyoming residents receiving disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). And while the application process may seem overwhelming, you’re not the only one going through it. This guide will break down what you need to know about qualifying for benefits, starting the application process, and determining the potential benefits you can receive.
What Wyoming disability program should I apply for?
Unfortunately, Wyoming does not have a state disability program. However, residents can still apply for federal and private disability plans. Below are the four most common disability programs that someone can qualify for in Wyoming:
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI is a federal program that supports Americans who have worked before but no longer can because of a medical condition or illness. The longer you’ve worked and paid taxes, the more likely you will qualify for SSDI. A lengthy work and taxpayer history may also lead to larger benefit checks.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI is a federal program for people with limited income and assets. It’s also an option for people who don’t have an extensive work history or haven’t worked recently enough to qualify for SSDI. It uses the same application as SSDI.
Veterans disability benefits: Active and retired veterans can receive disability benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) if they are injured during their military service and can’t work because of it. You can receive VA benefits at the same time as SSI or SSDI. Learn more about how to get VA benefits.
Long-term or short-term private disability insurance: You may have access to a private insurance plan if you purchased a plan before your disability left you unable to work. These policies are usually provided by employers but you can buy them independently. If you have a private disability plan, you’ll need to file a claim with your insurer to receive benefits. Your payments will be a portion of your former paychecks (often up to 60%) and may last months or years. Check your individual plan details to see the specifics.
The remainder of this guide will cover only SSDI and SSI, as they’re the most common type of disability benefits that Wyoming residents qualify for. Additionally, people receiving VA benefits can still qualify for Social Security disability and even if you have a private program, your insurer may require you to apply for SSDI or SSI anyway.
Qualifying for SSI or SSDI means meeting specific medical and technical requirements. While both programs have the same medical requirements, technical requirements vary by program.
Medical qualifications for disability benefits
To qualify medically for disability benefits, you must have a disability or medical condition that leaves you unable to work. The condition must also be expected to continue for at least for one more year, including conditions that will last for the rest of your life. Terminal conditions do qualify under the SSA’s compassionate allowance list.
To qualify for SSDI, you must meet two basic criteria:
You’re 66 years old or younger.
You meet work credit requirements that are based on the amount of tax you’ve paid into the Social Security program. If you’ve worked at least five out of the past 10 years, you have a good chance at qualifying. You can find out what the qualifications are through a free SSA.gov account.
To apply for benefits, you need to fill out the main disability application and supplemental forms. Two other forms you’ll need to complete are the work history report to describe your previous work experience and the function report to explain how your health conditions affect your day-to-day functioning.
It’s important to allocate enough time to complete your disability application. With all the required materials, it might take longer than you’d think. A lawyer can help you manage all the documentation you must keep track of to apply but you should still take some key steps:
Gather your personal records. Assemble all your records, including medical records, treatment forms, education records, bank account information, work history, and contact information for your doctors or other health care providers.
Submit the application and all supplemental documents. Be realistic about your limitations, like pain levels or the number of injuries associated with the condition, as you fill out your application. Consistency is also important, as some of the questions on the forms are similar and the SSA looks for contradictions.
Follow up with the SSA right after you submit. The SSA receives a high number of submissions. Reach out by calling or have your lawyer contact them to confirm they have received it and are processing your application.
Respond to any requests from the SSA immediately. Although you typically have up to 10 days to provide any requested information to the SSA, respond as soon as possible to avoid processing delays.
Applying in person is a great choice if you don’t choose to work with a lawyer because the SSA staff can advise you on how to answer the application questions accurately. They can’t give you personalized legal advice on the strength of your answers, though. If you do have a lawyer, they can handle submitting your application.
If you want help filing for disability, we recommend talking with a disability lawyer. They can fill out the application for you and communicate accordingly with the SSA — taking the burden off your shoulders. At Atticus, we can provide free legal advice on filling out your application or finding the right lawyer for your case. Fill out our 2-minute disability quiz to get started.
What happens after I apply for disability?
After you submit your first application, the SSA will review your application to see if you meet the technical requirements. Then Disability Determination Services (DDS) will check your medical eligibility. DDS will likely request a consultative exam at some point, where an SSA doctor performs a quick exam. From there, the SSA will make a decision on your application. Note that the process can take many months.
Your chances of getting approved for benefits
While some applications are accepted upon first review, around 70% are rejected. At that point, the next step is to file for reconsideration. However, over 90% of reconsidered applications are also rejected. When this happens, you’re eligible to appeal the decision and receive a hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
Participating in a hearing gets you the highest chance at acceptance. More than 50% of people who went before a judge in 2022 won benefits. Applicants who work with a lawyer are also three times more likely to get benefits.
In 2022, the average wait time to receive an initial decision was 6.1 months (184 days). For reconsideration requests, applicants had to wait an additional 6.1 months (183 days). From there, how long it takes to get a hearing depends on which SSA office handles your application. The nationwide wide average wait time to get a hearing is about 13.7 months. All told, Wyoming applicants can expect to wait about 2.8 years from the time they apply until the time they’re approved.
Since the application process takes so long, it’s important to submit your application as soon as possible. And while you can’t do much to speed up the process, responding to SSA requests quickly will prevent any additional delays. A lawyer can also help you stay on track throughout the process by handling appeals in a timely manner.
One silver lining is that once you are approved, your first check from the SSA will include back pay benefits for months or even years of payments.
The amount of your disability check depends on the type of benefits you receive. In some cases, it’s also possible to receive SSDI and SSI at the same time.
Average SSDI payments in Wyoming
The most recent SSA data shows that the average monthly SSDI benefit for Wyoming citizens is $1,365.71. That’s similar to the national average but lower than the maximum possible payment of around $3,600 in 2023.
While payment amounts vary from state to state, geographic location isn’t a determining factor in how much you’ll receive each month. Your income and work history are most important.
You can figure out what your SSDI check will be through your SSA.gov account:
If you don’t have an account, create one using your Social Security number (SSN).
Scroll down to the section titled “More Benefits.”
Average SSI payments in Wyoming
In Wyoming, the monthly average SSI payment is $548.06. The maximum amount you can receive from SSI is $914 per month in 2023.
Figuring out your personal payment involves looking at your current monthly income. The SSA subtracts the money you bring in each month — such as part-time work earnings and stock earnings — from the maximum amount. If you have no other income, your SSI checks will be $914 per month.
Working with a disability lawyer can save you time, money, and stress when submitting your SSI and SSDI application. They handle communicating with the SSA, filing appeals, and any court proceedings. If your case requires a hearing, your lawyer will work to help you make the best possible case before a judge. For example, they can cross-examine witnesses. Having a lawyer can also increase your chances of winning benefits.
As you’re searching for a disability lawyer in Wyoming, consider these important factors before making your final decision:
Reviews: Give a lawyer’s reviews a thorough look, watching out for consistently negative comments or concerns. This is probably a good sign that they’re not a great fit.
Primary area of practice: Look for a lawyer specializing in disability benefits cases and confirm this in your initial conversation. If your lawyer primarily works in other areas of law, like personal injury, they may not have the appropriate background and understanding for your case.
Location (to an extent): A local lawyer can be beneficial because they are familiar with local judges, but a remote lawyer who you only talk with over the phone can be just as helpful (especially since Wyoming doesn’t have its own SSA hearing office).
Communication: You want a lawyer with whom you can connect with regularly and reliably. Lawyers won’t always have updates on your case — so you shouldn’t expect to hear from them every day — but you want someone you can reach when necessary. Whether you talk to them over the phone or meet in person, they should always be willing to answer all your questions.
Practice history: A lawyer’s practice history is critical. The longer they’ve practiced, the more experience they probably have working on disability law cases like yours. New lawyers can bring a lot to the table and win cases, but they’re harder to vet.
Finding a good lawyer is a challenge. Atticus can make the process easier by matching you with someone who’s a good fit for your claim — for free! Our team has spent years vetting disability lawyers to find the best people who will treat you with priority and respect. If you want help finding a lawyer, fill out our disability quiz to get started.
Ready to get benefits today?
Frequently asked questions about benefits in Wyoming
How do I qualify for disability in Wyoming?
To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.
What conditions qualify for disability in Wyoming?
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 conditions that qualify here.
How long does it take to get approved for disability in Wyoming?
It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Wyoming. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits
How much does disability pay in Wyoming?
The average SSDI payment in Wyoming is $1,365.71 per month. The average SSI payment is $548.06 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent 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 Wyoming?
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 Wyoming have a state disability program?
No, Wyoming 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 Wyoming can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.
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