On average, 21% of residents living in Wisconsin have a disability, which is slightly lower than the national average. That means around one in every five adults in the state has a disability that limits their ability to work.
The most common disabilities are mobility, cognition, independent living, vision, and hearing. These disabilities cost America’s Dairyland approximately $16 billion in healthcare expenses annually, equating to about 34% of its overall healthcare expenditure.
One of the ways through which Wisconsin supports disabled residents is by providing Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI offers financial assistance to those who cannot work because of a disabling condition.
However, not every disabled person qualifies for SSDI benefits. So, what are the qualification criteria for these Wisconsin social services?
This post will discuss everything you need to know about Social Security local to Wisconsin.
How Do I Qualify for Social Security Benefits in Wisconsin
SSDI is a federal program managed by the Social Security Administration. To qualify for benefits, you must meet two basic requirements.
The first is medical eligibility, which you prove by showing the SSA that you have a ‘severe’ disability.
Severe disability, based on the SSA definition, is a condition that limits your ability to work for at least 12 months or results in death. You won’t qualify for benefits if yours is a short-term disability.
The second is non-medical eligibility, where you prove that you worked and paid Social Security taxes. The SSA gauges this using the work credit system.
At a minimum, you should have 40 work credits, half earned in the past decade. As of 2021, an income of $1,470 earns one work credit. That means a person can earn up to four work credits per year.
How Do I Apply for Social Security Benefits in Wisconsin?
You can apply for SSDI in Wisconsin by phone, in person, or online. Online application is the easiest and most convenient way to submit your application.
To apply online, you must create an account on the SSA website. Once this is done, log in and complete all the required forms.
You can also apply for disability benefits by calling the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Lastly, you can visit your Wisconsin Social Security office if you want to apply in person.
You can use the SSA field office locator tool to find your nearest office. Consider calling to make an appointment before you visit, as this will ensure you are served promptly.
Remember to include medical records, hospital bills, and other documentation with your initial application to prove your eligibility for Social Security Disability.
Also, be ready to share your personal information about you, your spouse, minor children, and your Wisconsin Social Security number.
What Happens After I Apply for Social Security Benefits in Wisconsin?
Although the SSA processes disability applications, it does not do the determination. When you apply for disability benefits, the SSA sends your application to the Wisconsin Disability Determination Bureau (DDB), the agency that decides whether applicants qualify for benefits.
Claims examiners working for the DDB decide whether to approve your claim or not. For your case, a claims examiner will review your medical records to establish whether you meet the medical eligibility.
They will also look at your work history to see how your disability limits you from working. The examiner may seek the input of vocational experts, who will tell if you can do any work in your current condition.
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The claims examiner will determine your disability status based on the gathered information. If they find you are not disabled, your application will be denied.
If you are found to be disabled, your application will be approved, and you will start to receive benefits within five months. The exact amount of payment will depend on your work history and earnings.
Appealing a Denial for Social Security Benefits in Wisconsin
Most individuals who file for SSDI in Wisconsin are denied benefits at their first trial, meaning they do not qualify for benefits. The most common ground for denial is insufficient evidence to prove a severe disability.
Fortunately, applicants can appeal the decision if they wish to pursue the case. Here are the levels of appeals to follow.
Request for Reconsideration
If your SSDI claim is denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a Request for Reconsideration with the DDB.
The DDB will assign your claim to a new claims examiner, and you should find out the decision within three months.
If your reconsideration is still denied (the majority are), you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Here, you will have a chance to speak directly to the person deciding whether or not you are eligible for benefits. Most applicants choose to hire a lawyer at this point.
The disability judge may rule against you and deny your claim. If this happens, you have two more stages of appeals. First, you can ask the Appeals Council to review your case. If this is unsuccessful, your last option is to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Wisconsin SSDI Hearing Wait Times & Average Approval Rate
Up to 38% of Wisconsin’s SSDI applicants get their claims approved during the initial application stage. The rest must pursue the reconsideration and disability hearing before being approved for benefits.
Wisconsin’s approval and denial rates almost match the national average. At the hearing level, Wisconsin Social Security Administration approves 51% of claims, which equals the national average.
However, the state’s wait time for disability hearings is much lower than the national average. The average wait time in the state is eight months, much lower than the national average of 10 months.
These average approval rates and wait times highlight the importance of having an SSDI attorney on your side throughout the process.
An experienced attorney can get you an on-the-record decision without waiting eight months for a hearing. Having a legal representative also increases your chances of being approved for benefits.
How Do I Contact the Wisconsin Social Security Office Near Me?
Below is a list of Social Security field offices that serve disabled adults in Wisconsin. Contact these offices if you have questions regarding the Social Security application process.
Call or visit your nearest Wisconsin Social Security office if you wish to apply for benefits or have applied for disability and need assistance.
SSA Field Office
|Portage Office||2875 Village Rd
Portage, WI 53901
|Milw North Office||6300 W Fond Du Lac Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53218
|Madison Office||6011 Odana Rd
Madison, WI 53719
|Green Bay Office||1561 Dousman St.
Green Bay, WI 54303
|Fond Du Lac Office||180 Knights Way
Fond Du Lac, WI 54935
|Eau Claire Office||4120 Oakwood Hills Pky
Eau Claire, WI 54701
|Racine Office||4020 Durand Ave
Racine, WI 53405
|La Crosse Office||210 7Th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601
|Wausau Office||352 Grand Ave
Wausau, WI 54403
|Sheboygan Office||1137 N 26Th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081
|Superior Office||4221 Tower Ave
Superior, WI 54880
|Oshkosh Office||400 City Center Ste B
Oshkosh, WI 54901
|Janesville Office||222 N Academy St
Janesville, WI 53548
|Kenosha Office||5624 6Th Ave
Kenosha, WI 53140
|Milw DT Office||310 W Wisconsin Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53203
|Appleton Office||607 W Northland Ave
Appleton, WI 54911
|Waukesha Office||707 N Grand Avenue
Waukesha, WI 53186
|Wisconsin Rapids Office||2213 8Th St South
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
|Lancaster Office||175 W Alona Ln
Lancaster, WI 53813
|Marinette Office||2023 Lake Park Dr
Marinette, WI 54143
|Manitowoc Office||1603 Mirro Dr
Manitowoc, WI 54220
|Rhinelander Office||2023 Navajo St
Rhinelander, WI 54501
|Rice Lake Office||1703 W Knapp Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868
|West Bend Office||1145 Vern Street
West Bend, WI 53090
|Milw-West Office||5020 W North Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53208
|Greenfield Office||8455 W Layton Ave
Greenfield, WI 53228
Get Legal Help Applying for Social Security Benefits in Wisconsin
The Social Security Disability application process can be tedious and time-consuming. An experienced Wisconsin Social Security disability attorney can help you navigate the application process.
An experienced local attorney will help you collect the evidence you need to prove your disability. They can also represent you before the judge at the hearing if your application is denied.