In Indiana, 2.4% of residents qualify for and receive disability benefits. These benefits are a lifeline for many people, but getting them is a challenging process. For most applicants, it’s time-consuming, confusing, and just plain stressful.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to qualify for benefits, the basics of the application process, and how much benefits might be worth to you.
While there is no disability program specific to Indiana residents, there are federal programs and private disability benefits you can apply for. Below are descriptions of some of the most common options.
For the rest of this guide, we will focus on SSDI and SSI since they’re the most common types of disability benefits that Indiana residents qualify for. Even if you apply for other programs, you might still need to apply for SSI or SSDI.
Qualifying for SSDI and SSI involves meeting medical and technical requirements. While the medical requirements are the same for both programs, each has different work and income qualifications.
You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you have a health condition that has lasted (or is expected to continue) over one year and that leaves you unable to work. Based on recently released SSA data, the most common conditions among Social Security disability recipients in Indiana are:
You can also qualify for benefits if you have a mental health condition. A few of the most common disorders are:
Learn more about what conditions qualify for disability benefits.
To qualify for SSDI, you must:
Learn more about SSDI eligibility.
To qualify for SSI, you must:
Learn more about SSI eligibility.
As you begin the disability benefits application process, there is one required form (SSA-16) and a few supplementary forms that ask for details about your work history, day-to-day functioning, and any treatment you get for your condition. Getting help from a disability lawyer can make filling out these forms much easier, though you can also do it independently.
There are three ways to submit your application for disability benefits:
If you don’t have a lawyer to assist you, applying in person at your local SSA office might be your best choice. While the SSA staff can’t directly give you legal advice, they can advise you on how to answer the application questions accurately.
Preparing your application for disability benefits involves more than just gathering paperwork on your health condition. There are a number of detailed questions you need to answer and how you answer could determine the success of your application. A lawyer can assist with this, ensuring you have everything done properly.
If you are preparing and submitting your application on your own, here are some of the things you need to do:
Having a lawyer can help you tremendously with the application process. They can fill out an application for you and confirm receipt with the SSA. If you’d like more advice on this or finding the right lawyer, Atticus can provide free legal advice. Fill out our 2-minute disability quiz to get started.
While some applications are accepted after the first review, around 70% are denied. The next step is to file for a reconsideration. Over 90% of these reconsidered applications are also rejected. But persistence is key. At this point, you can request a hearing before a judge.
Applications that participate in a hearing have the highest chance of acceptance, with about 50% of hearings resulting in approval. Your chance of approval is also three times higher with a lawyer.
Here’s a bit about how a hearing works and what you can expect.
SSDI and SSI applications are frequently denied after the first submission, so it can take years before you receive a final decision from the SSA.
In 2022, the average time from initial application until getting a disability hearing in Indiana was between 18.6 months and 26.4 months.
The the average wait time for an initial decision was 5.5 months or 165 days. If you have to file for reconsideration, that adds another 4.9 months (147 days) to your wait time. Then the average wait time to get a hearing in Indiana was 10.75 months. However, the wait time could be between 8 and 16 months, depending on which SSA office handles your hearing.
Here’s a breakdown of wait times by hearing office:
Wait time for a hearing
Quickly sending all requested documents to the SSA and meeting the requested timelines are the only ways to speed up the approval process. Your lawyer will also help you stay on track with your submission and check in with the SSA to confirm it has all the necessary information.
The amount of your disability check depends on the type of benefits you receive.
The average monthly SSDI benefit in Indiana is $1,355.25, according to the most recent SSA data — about $100 higher than the average national payment. Your benefit check could be higher or lower, depending on your work and income history. The maximum possible SSDI benefit is $3,627 in 2023.
To figure out what your potential SSDI paycheck will be, all you have to do is create an account on the SSA website:
In Indiana, the average monthly SSI payment is $580.90. This is higher than the national average, but well below the maximum possible SSI payment ($914 in 2023).
To figure out how much your SSI check will be, the SSA subtracts the value of your other monthly income — like SNAP benefits, stock earnings, and money from part-time work — from the max amount.
With a disability lawyer, you can avoid making critical mistakes while filling out your Social Security disability application. If your case requires a hearing, they can cross-examine witnesses, act as your advocate, and help you make the best possible case before a judge. Additionally, the likelihood of winning benefits is three times higher with a lawyer than without.
When you’re searching for an Indiana disability lawyer, consider these important points before hiring one:
Looking for a lawyer is challenging, especially if it’s your first time doing so. Atticus can help by matching you with an experienced lawyer — for free. With our experience vetting disability lawyers and extensive network of legal teams, we will find the right lawyer for your case — someone you can trust will treat you with priority and respect. To get started, fill out our 2-minute quiz. A member of our team will then reach out to talk about next steps.
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