Filing for Disability in Maine

If you have to appeal a denial of Social Security disability benefits in Maine, at least you'll have a better chance of a judge approving you for benefits than the national average.

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Gavel and Scales

Social Security disability benefits are administered through a federal program, so the application and appeals process and monthly payments are very similar throughout the country. However, there are differences between the states. Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about Social Security Disability benefits in Maine.

How do I apply for and get disability benefits in Maine?

You apply for disability benefits through a local Social Security office (there are nine in Maine), and your application is reviewed to make sure that you have meet all of the technical requirements for benefits (such as income or work history requirements). Then, if you apply from Maine, your application is sent to Maine Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency in Augusta, for a medical decision to be made on your records. Maine DDS uses a “Single Decision Maker” (SDM) process, which means that your medical record is reviewed by a disability examiner (DE) alone, instead of being reviewed by a DE and a medical consultant, as is done in other states. Maine uses the SDM process as part of a project that was created to try to decrease the wait time for disability benefits across the nation.

If DDS denies your claim and your reconsideration request, your claim will be sent to the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), a branch of Social Security in Portland, where a judge will decide your case at a disability hearing.

What are my chances of being approved for benefits in Maine?

Your chances of being approved by Maine DDS at the initial and reconsideration stages are about the same as the national average (see below). However, at the hearing stage, you have a significantly better chance of being approved for benefits by judges at the Portland ODAR than at other ODAR offices in the U.S. The downside to a hearing process in Maine is a longer wait time for a hearing, which means a longer wait time to receive a decision. Below is a chart that compares the statistics in Maine and national averages.

Stage of Application/Appeal Process

Maine Approval Rate

National Approval Rate

Initial Claim

29.8%

32.1%

Reconsideration

11.6%

11.3%

ALJ Hearing

73.2%

58.3%

Hearing Wait Time

371 days

349 days

How much will I receive each month if I am approved for disability benefits in Maine?

How much you will receive each month depends on the type of disability benefits you are receiving. If receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), your payments are based on how much you have paid into the Social Security system while working. If receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will receive a standard payment from the federal government monthly (which may be adjusted if you have additional income), and you could also receive a small monthly supplement from the State of Maine, depending on your living situation.

Below is a chart of the maximum monthly payments you can receive under SSI in Maine.

Living Situation

Maine Monthly Supplement

Federal Monthly Payment

Total Monthly Payment

Living Alone or With Others

Individual

Couple

 

$ 10

$ 15

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 708

$ 1,063

Living in the Household of Another

Individual

Couple

 

$ 8

$ 12

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 706

$ 1,060

Foster Home

Individual

Couple

 

$ 49

$ 273

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 747

$ 1,321

Flat-Rate Boarding Home

Individual

Couple

 

$ 217

$ 590

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 915

$ 1,638

Cost-Reimbursement Boarding Home

Individual

Couple

 

$ 234

$ 636

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 932

$ 1,684

Medicaid Facility

Individual

Couple

 

$ 10

$ 20

 

$ 698

$ 1,048

 

$ 708

$ 1,068

In Maine, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) administers the monthly supplement that Maine offers; DHHS may be contacted at 207-287-3707.

Can my health care provider charge me to get a copy of my medical records for disability?

In Maine, there is no regulation that prevents health care providers from charging you for a copy of your medical records that are being used for Social Security applications or appeals. Health care providers can charge you $10 for the first page and $0.35 for each additional page. There is no limit to what your health care provider can charge altogether.

While it is always best to get your own copies of your medical records and submit them to Social Security with your application, if you are unable to afford them, Social Security can obtain them. Social Security has the obligation to request medical records that are not provided to them so that they have a complete view of your medical impairments.

Who do I contact in Maine about my disability application or appeal?

After you submit your application, you can contact Maine Disability Determination Services for help. If your application is denied and you chose to appeal, you can contact the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) with questions. Below is the contact information for the DDS office and ODAR offices that cover Maine.

Disability Determination Services
Department of Health and Human Services
State House Station #11
Augusta, ME 04333
Phone: 207-377-9500 or 800-452-8718

ODAR- Regional Office
10th Floor
One Bowdoin Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Phone: 888-870-7578

ODAR- Portland Hearing Office
One Portland Square
Suite 600
Portland, ME 04101-4092

Phone: 877-701-2137

Is there someone who can help me if I want to return to work after being disabled?

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) under the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) is the office in Maine that helps people who are disabled to find and keep a job. Those who receive SSDI or SSI are immediately eligible for these services. To apply for services, you should contact your local DVR office. Contact information for the local offices is below.

Augusta

21 Enterprise Dr, Suite 2
Augusta, ME 04333-0073
Phone: 624-5120 or 800-760-1573

Bangor

45 Oak Street, Suite 1
Bangor, ME 04401-6664
Phone: 561-4000 or 888-545-8811

Houlton

91 Military Street, Suite 3
Houlton, ME 04730-2421
Phone: 532-5300 or 800-691-0033

Lewiston

5 Mollison Way
Lewiston, ME 04240-5805
Phone: 753-9000 or 800-741-2991

Machias

53 Prescott Drive, Suite 2
Machias, ME 04654-9751
Phone: 255-1926 or 800-770-7774

Portland

185 Lancaster Street
Portland, ME 04101-2453
Phone: 771-5627 or 877-594-5627

Presque Isle

66 Spruce Street, Suite 3
Presque Isle, ME 04769-3222
Phone: 760-6300 or 800-635-0357

Rockland

91 Camden Street, Suite 202
Rockland, ME 04841-2421
Phone: 596-2641 or 877-421-7916

Skowhegan

98 North Avenue, Suite 16
Skowhegan, ME 04976-1923
Phone: 474-4958 or 800-760-1572

How can I find a disability lawyer in Maine?

Visit our page for Maine disability lawyers, where you can read profiles of local law firms and lawyers and contact them for a free case evaluation.

by: , Contributing Author

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