According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23% of Iowa residents have a disability.
Individuals with mobility-related disabilities and cognitive impairment comprise the largest group, followed by those with hearing-related disabilities. Other disabilities include independent living, vision, and self-care disabilities.
These disabilities make it challenging for individuals to work and support themselves and their families. For this reason, the U.S implemented Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), a federal program that provides financial assistance to those who cannot work because of a disability.
Unfortunately, only 4% of disabled residents in Iowa are approved for these benefits. Most people do not meet the qualification criteria; hence their applications are denied.
So, what qualifications must someone meet to qualify for SSDI?
If you want to learn about the eligibility criteria for Social Security disability benefits, this post is for you. Read on to learn everything about Social Security local to Iowa.
How Do I Qualify for Social Security Benefits in Iowa
Social Security Disability is accessible to all qualified American citizens. Since this is a federal program, the eligibility criteria remain the same across states.
You must meet two major requirements to qualify for disability benefits. First, your disability must be severe and should appear in the SSA Blue Book. The Blue Book lists disabling medical conditions that qualify for financial support.
You are unlikely to qualify if your medical condition does not appear on the list. In fact, 70% of applicants are not approved for benefits because they do not meet this requirement.
Secondly, you must have been working for long enough to pay into the Social Security system. Generally, you need ten years of work history, but you may be eligible for a waiver depending on your age and the severity of your disability.
Many disabled individuals still have some capacity to work. If you belong to this category, know that Iowa passed disability rights to protect you against discrimination. The law requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for disabled employees.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Benefits in Iowa?
There are three ways of applying for disability and other Iowa Social Services- in person, online, or over the phone.
Online application is the fastest and most convenient. If you choose this application method, you must first create an account at www.ssa.gov.
The online application form will contain questions regarding your medical condition and personal information, which you must fill out.
If you prefer applying in person, you will do so by visiting the nearest Iowa Social Security Office. You will need to provide proof of birth, proof of citizenship, your recent W-2 form, self-employment tax return, and Iowa Social Security number.
You may also call a customer representative at (800) 772-1213 to apply. The representative will ask about your disability, work history, and medications.
What Happens After I Apply for Social Security Benefits in Iowa?
The SSA forwards all completed applications to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office for review.A two-person team, consisting of a medical or psychological consultant and a DDS disability specialist, makes disability determinations for Iowa state.
The DDS will review your application to ensure you qualify for disability benefits. To do this, they will send your medical records to your doctor to seek their opinion.
Your doctor will answer questions regarding your condition while mentioning how it affects your ability to work. You should follow up with the doctor, so they complete the questionnaire on time.
Next, the DDS will have vocational experts review your disability. Vocational experts understand how a disability can affect any job. They will look at your work history and medical records to determine the kind of jobs that your disability can accommodate.
The DDS will finally rely on all this information to decide your disability status. If they consider you disabled, you will begin receiving the benefits. The amount you get in monthly payments will depend on your work history and how much you earn.
If the DDS does not consider you disabled, they will deny your application. But you can appeal if you disagree with the decision.
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Appealing a Denial for Social Security Benefits in Iowa
The Iowa Social Security Administration denies up to 70% of initial applications. That means you should be ready to initiate the appeals process immediately once your application is denied.
There are four levels of appeals, and an applicant must complete each level within 60 days of the prior denial. You must complete one stage before moving on to the next.
Request for Reconsideration is the first step after the denial of the initial application. You will not have to provide additional information at this stage.
Your application will be given to a new DDS claims reviewer to rule out any errors that could have been made during the initial review. Only 20% of reconsideration requests are approved in Iowa.
Note that you will have 60 days to file a request for reconsideration from the date of denial.
You might be lucky at the disability hearing if your reconsideration is denied. Here, you need more documents or witnesses to make a stronger case.
The hearing occurs at the Iowa Hearing and Appeal Office based in West Des Moines.
The subsequent level of appeal entails requesting the Appeals council to review the two previous decisions.
The Council can either decline your request or return your case to disability adjudication. Most claimants choose to hire a social security disability lawyer at this point.
The federal district court is the highest and last level of appeals that reviews the decision of the Appeals court.
Iowa has two federal district courts, one for the Northern districts and another for Southern districts.
Iowa SSDI Hearing Wait Times & Average Approval Rate
Only 38% of those who apply for Iowa Social Security Disability benefits are approved during the initial application stage. The rest must pursue a reconsideration and hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
At the hearing in Iowa, the odds of getting approved for benefits are higher than the national average. The state has an average approval rate of 55% against the 45% national average.
Additionally, the state has a shorter wait time for hearing before ALJ. The wait time in Iowa is 15 months against the national average of 19 months.
One of the reasons applicants get approved at the hearing is that they bring in a lawyer to represent them.
According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, SSDI benefits with legal representation are three times more likely to be approved than those who go to the hearing alone.
So, if your initial application was denied, hire an experienced lawyer to represent you in the subsequent stages of the appeal.
How Do I Contact the Iowa Social Security Office Near Me?
Iowa has 19 Social Security Field offices and one Office of Disability Determination Services that serve disabled residents in the state.
Contact the nearest Iowa Social Security Field office from the list below for help if you need assistance during the application process.
|Iowa Field Office||Physical Address||Phone Number|
|Ames Office||2615 University Blvd|
Ames IA 50010
|Burlington Office||3012 Division St|
Burlington IA 52601
|Carroll Office||818 N Bella Vista Dr|
Carroll IA 51401
|Cedar Rapids Office||3165 Williams Blvd Sw|
Cedar Rapids IA 52404
|Clinton Office||226 Fourth Ave South|
Clinton IA 52732
|Council Bluffs Office||20 Arena Way Ste 1|
Council Bluffs IA 51501
|Creston Office||906 E Taylor St|
Creston IA 50801
|Davenport Office||131 W 3rd St|
Davenport IA 52801
|Des Moines Office||455 Sw 5th St Ste F|
Des Moines, IA 50309
|Dubuque Office||1635 Associates Dr|
Dubuque IA 52002
|Fort Dodge Office||2315 2nd Ave North|
Fort Dodge IA 50501
|Iowa City Office||400 South Clinton|
Iowa City, IA 52240
|Marshalltown Office||2502 South 2nd Street|
Marshalltown IA 50158
|Mason City Office||625 Village Grn Dr Sw.|
Mason City IA 50401
|Ottumwa Office||2429 Northgate Street|
Ottumwa IA 52501
|Sioux City Office||3555 Southern Hills Dr|
Sioux City IA 51106
|Spencer Office||1610 12th Ave Sw.|
Spencer IA 51301
|Storm Lake Office||800 Oneida St|
Storm Lake IA 50588
|Waterloo Office||3121 Greyhound Drive|
Waterloo IA 50701
Get Legal Help Applying for Social Security Benefits in Iowa
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance is not an easy process. It takes time to gather enough evidence to prove your disability, apply, and appeal denied applications.
An experienced Iowa Social Security disability attorney can assist you in completing an error-free application to increase your chances of being approved for benefits.
An attorney can further represent you before the administrative law judge if your application is denied. Contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation with an Iowa SSDI lawyer.