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Michigan disability benefits

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Michigan

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 21, 2024  ·  2 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 has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

If you’re a Michigan resident who can’t work because of an injury or illness, you may qualify for federal disability benefits through Social Security. More than 350,000 Michiganders receive disability benefits annually from the Social Security Administration (SSA) for injuries and medical conditions

If disability benefits could provide you with much needed financial assistance, it’s worth it to apply. Let’s look at Michigan’s different disability benefit programs and what’s involved in the application process in the Great Lakes State. 

How disability works in Michigan

Michigan does not have a statewide disability program. However, the good news is that Michiganders with disabilities may be eligible for Social Security benefits through the federal government or disability benefits through a private insurance company. 

As a Michigan resident, you have access to:

  1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI, which offers monthly payments and Medicare, is geared toward those who cannot work long term due to a disability. To qualify, you must have previously worked and paid taxes.

  2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you have very few resources and assets and a limited work history, you might be eligible for SSI, a similar federal program that pays monthly benefits and includes Medicaid. 

  3. Veterans disability benefits: If you are a veteran and cannot work due to an injury stemming from your military service, you could receive Veterans Affairs benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

  4. Private disability insurance: You may access long-term or short-term private disability insurance directly from an insurance company or through your former employer as long as you purchased the coverage before your injury or illness began.

You may qualify for workers' compensation benefits if you experienced a work-related injury or illness. Check out our guide on workers’ comp benefits.

We've helped 5,640 people in Michigan with disability benefits.

Should I apply for SSDI or SSI?

Both of these federal programs, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), provide monthly payments and health insurance coverage to people who can’t work because of a non-work-related injury or illness. 

When you’re weighing which program to apply for, keep these key differences in mind: 

  • Work history: SSDI is for people who have worked at least five out of the last 10 years and have paid taxes into Social Security. SSI is for people with little to no work history, very low income, and few assets.

  • Payment amounts: Your SSDI payments depend on how much you paid in Social Security taxes. On the other hand, your SSI benefit amount depends on your income level and total assets. Typically, monthly SSI payments are lower than SSDI benefits. In Michigan, the average monthly SSDI payment is $1,776, while the average monthly SSI payment is $625.

  • Healthcare: SSDI recipients receive Medicare coverage, while SSI beneficiaries receive Medicaid coverage.

Can I apply for both programs at the same time?

Yes, it’s possible to receive SSI and SSDI at the same time. Not everyone will qualify, but there’s no harm in applying for both as long as you fill out everything truthfully. SSI and SSDI use the same application and trying for both can be the smart thing to do in certain cases. (On a technical note, if you qualify for both, you may see that the SSA categorizes you as receiving “concurrent” benefits.)

The easiest way to learn whether you qualify for SSI or SSDI is to take our free online quiz. It only takes a few minutes and if you qualify, we can connect you with a lawyer to help increase your chance of success when applying.

What is Social Security’s five-year rule?

The Social Security disability “five-year rule” is an informal rule of thumb that assesses your work history. If you’ve worked at least five of the past 10 years, you will likely qualify for SSDI. 

The five-year rule can also refer to the elimination of a waiting period for SSDI beneficiaries who are re-applying for benefits. Typically, there is a five-month waiting period for benefits after the SSA approves your application. However, if you received SSDI benefits in the last five years and discontinued them but now require those benefits again, you might be eligible to have your benefits reinstated faster.

How to apply for disability benefits in Michigan

To submit your application for SSDI or SSI in the state of Michigan, follow these steps:

  1. Create an online SSA account. Set up your account by visiting SSA.gov, clicking “Create an Account,” and verifying your identity. 

  2. Download the application. Next, download the application from the SSA website so you can fill it out.

  3. Complete and submit the application. Submit your completed application online, walk it into your closest SSA field office, or call the SSA office to apply over the phone. 

Keep in mind, a claim representative at your local SSA office can help you fill out your application, but they cannot provide you with legal advice. For more support, call Atticus to connect with a lawyer who can help you navigate every step of the application process.

SSA offices in Michigan

There are 45 SSA offices throughout Michigan, including four in the Upper Peninsula.


1040 S Winter St Ste 2401

Adrian, MI 49221

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 512-5943

Fax Number: (833) 950-3401


111 N 4Th Ave 

Alpena, MI 49707

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 452-4195

Fax Number: (833) 950-2774

Ann Arbor

3971 Research Park Dr Ste A

Ann Arbor, MI 48108

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 402-0825

Fax Number: (734) 929-6463

Battle Creek

5700 Beckley Rd Ste D1

Battle Creek, MI 49015

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 445-0829

Fax Number: (833) 950-2462

Bay City

1115 Washington Ave 

Bay City, MI 48708

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 366-4924

Fax Number: (833) 950-2134

Benton Harbor

455 Bond St

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 405-5457

Fax Number: (833) 950-2474

Big Rapids

502 N State St Ste A

Big Rapids, MI 49307

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 245-0641

Fax Number: (833) 950-3705


26200 21 Mile Rd 

Chesterfield, MI 48051

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 635-0788

Fax Number: (833) 950-3699

See all SSA offices in the state of Michigan.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for disability in Michigan?

You’re free to apply for disability on your own. But working with a disability lawyer significantly improves your chances of success. You are three times more likely to win benefits if you work with a lawyer, no matter where you live. Lawyers can help you:

  • Fill out the paperwork. Applying for disability involves filling out plenty of paperwork and forms, and you have to do it all correctly. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, a lawyer will help you walk through each step of the application process. 

  • Communicate with the SSA. When it comes to communicating with the SSA, disability lawyers can do things you can’t — like access the SSA’s Electronic Records Express (ERE), a system they can use to submit documents related to your case and track the status of your submission. If any important files are missing from the ERE, your lawyer will follow up with the SSA. 

  • Help with the appeals process. Most disability applicants are denied their first time and must appeal the disability denial, which involves submitting more paperwork by a certain date and appearing at a hearing. Lawyers are experts at this process and know how to represent you well.

Find a great disability lawyer in Michigan

Get help with your disability application

Looking for more information about how to apply for disability benefits in Michigan? Fill out this short quiz, and a member of our team will reach out to discuss your disability claim. If you’d like, we can also connect you with a qualified disability lawyer who can help build your case and simplify every step of the application process for you.

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Michigan

How do I qualify for disability in Michigan?

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 Michigan?

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 Michigan?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Michigan. 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 Michigan?

The average SSDI payment in Michigan is $1,384.77 per month. The average SSI payment is $639.17 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 Michigan?

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 Michigan have a state disability program?

No, Michigan 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 Michigan can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Related resources:

Michigan Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

SSA Offices in Michigan

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

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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