Filing for Disability and SSI in Massachusetts

Here are resources in Massachusetts for getting help applying for Social Security disability, appealing a denial, and going back to work.

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Gavel and Scales

While Social Security Disability and SSI benefits are provided by the federal government, each state handles the way the benefits are awarded differently. Below is an overview of the disability benefit process in Massachusetts.

How and where do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

Social Security disability benefits, both Social Security Disability (SSD) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), are provided through the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can contact your local Social Security office or fill out an application online to apply (SSD only).

At your local SSA office, a field representative will review your initial application to make sure all of the necessary information is provided and then will send your application to Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency under the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. A claims examiner at DDS will determine if you qualify for disability benefits. All questions regarding your application after it has been filed should be directed towards your local DDS office. There are two DDS offices in Massachusetts; the contact information is below.

Disability Determination Services
110 Chauncy Street
Boston, MA 02111

Disability Determination Services
340 Main St. Suite 500
Worcester, MA 01608

What are my chances of being awarded disability benefits in Massachusetts?

In Massachusetts, the rate of disability benefit approvals is slightly higher than the national average. The approval rate on initial disability applications is 39.5%.

The approval rate following an ALJ hearing is much better, 61.3%. If you hire a disability lawyer, your chances increase even more. However, the average wait time for a hearing is 355 days. If you have a strong case, a disability lawyer may be able to get you an on-the-record decision without your having to wait for a hearing.

Stage of Application

Massachusetts

Nationally

Initial Application

39.5%

32.1%

Reconsideration Review

21.2%

11.3%

Appeal Hearing

61.3%

58.6%

Hearing Wait Time

355 days

348 days

If I am approved for SSI, how much money will I receive monthly?

SSI provides need-based disability payments that are set at a standard monthly payment by the federal government. As of 2012, the federal government will pay an individual $698 per month and couples $1,048 per month. Massachusetts makes additional "supplementary" payments to those receiving SSI, as set out below (the amount depends on your living situation).

 

Massachusetts Monthly Supplement

MA & Federal Monthly Supplement Combined

Living Independently

Single: $114.39

Couple: $180.06

Single: $812.93

Couple: $1,228.06

Shared Living Expenses

Single: $30.40

Couple: $180.06

Single: $728.40

Couple: $1,228.06

Living in the Household of Another

Single: $87.58

Couple: $194.18

Single: $785.58

Couple: $1,242.18

Licensed Rest Home

Single: $293

Couple: $923

Single: $991

Couple: $1,971

Medicaid Facility

Single: $42.80

Couple: $85.60

Single: $740.80

Couple: $1,133.60

Assisted Living Facility

Single: $454

Couple: $681

Single: $1,152

Couple: $1,729

What do I do if I want to appeal a decision by Social Security?

If you are denied Social Security or SSI benefits, you are entitled to appeal your decision. In Massachusetts, there is a four-step appeals process.

Reconsideration. In this first appeal step, your application is reviewed by an examiner at DDS who has not previously reviewed it. Learn more about the reconsideration step.

ALJ Hearing. If you are denied benefits after reconsideration, you can appeal for a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). Learn more about the administrative hearing.

Appeals Council. If the ALJ denies you disability benefits, you may appeal to the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will either hear your case or send your case back to the ALJ to be reviewed again. Learn more about the Appeals Council.

Lawsuit in Federal Court. If you are denied by the Appeals Council or the ALJ on re-review, you may chose to file a lawsuit in federal court.

The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the office that manages all of the hearings and the Appeal Council cases. The contact information for the regional ODAR office and the four hearing offices that serve Massachusetts are listed below.

Regional Office - SSA, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review

10th Floor
One Bowdoin Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Telephone: (888) 870-7578
Fax: (617) 723-2985

Boston Hearing Office

ODAR
4th Floor
One Bowdoin Square
Boston, Massachusetts 02114
Telephone: (888) 870-7573 
Fax: (617) 248-0978

Serves the following field offices: Boston, Brockton, Chelsea, Dorchester, Falmouth, Fitchburg, Framington, Gardner, Hanover, Hyannis, Lynn, Malden, Norwood, Quincy Roslindale, Salem, Somerville, and Waltham

Lawrence Hearing Office

ODAR
3rd Floor
439 South Union Street
Lawrence, Massachusetts 01843
Telephone: (877) 405-9189
Fax: (978) 687-3704

Serves the following field offices: Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill

Providence, RI Hearing Office

ODAR
155 Westminster Street, Suite 1000W
10th Floor
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Telephone: (877) 583-4082
Fax: (401) 272-3052 

Serves the following field offices in Massachusetts: Attleboro, Fall River, Taunton, and New Bedford

Springfield Hearing Office

ODAR
Suite 450
1441 Main Street
Springfield, Massachusetts 01103
Telephone: (866) 964-5058
Fax: (413) 734-2347

Serves the following field offices: Greenfield, Holyoke, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester

Where can I get help to return to work?

Massachusetts provides services to individuals trying to go back to work through Vocational Rehabilitation Services, which is a division under the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Services provided include job training in preparation for getting a job, assistance getting a job, and help keeping your job despite an impairnent.

There are Vocational Rehabilitation Services offices throughout the state to service individuals in need. To apply for services, you should contact your local office. A list of the local offices and their contact information can be found below.

Brockton

55 City Hall Plaza
Brockton, MA 02301
Telephone: (508) 583-1530

Brookline

320 Washington Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Telephone: (617) 739-9080

Boston

59 Temple Place, Suite 905
Boston, MA 02111
Telephone: (617) 357-8137 

Cape and Islands

181 North Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Telephone: (508) 775-6173 

Fall River

170 Pleasant Street, Room 300
Fall River, MA 02721- 3015
Telephone: (508) 678-9041

Fitchburg

76 Summer Street - Room 330
Fitchburg, MA 01420-5785
Telephone: (978) 345-1713 or (508) 792-7380

Framingham

463 Worcester Road, Suite 305
Framingham, MA 01701-5356
Telephone: (508) 370-4700

Greenfield

238 Main Street
Greenfield MA 01301
Telephone: (413) 774-2326

Holyoke

187 High Street
Holyoke MA 01040
Telephone: (413) 536-8200 

Lawrence

One Parker Street
Lawrence, MA 01843
Telephone: (978) 685-1731 or (800) 332-9722 

Lowell

325 Chelmsford Street, #6
Lowell, MA 01851
Telephone: (978) 458-4544

Malden

157 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 01248
Telephone: (781) 324-7160

Milford

Home National Office Plaza
100 Medway Road, Suite 102
Milford, MA 01757
Telephone: (508) 478-0700 

North Adams

85 Main Street, Room 426,
North Adams, MA 01247
Telephone: (413) 663-5391 

New Bedford

888 Purchase Street, 4th Floor
New Bedford, MA 02740
Telephone: (508) 993-6255

Pittsfield

6 Clinton Avenue
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Telephone: (413) 499-2720

Plymouth

40 Industrial Park Road, Suite 206
Plymouth, MA 02360
Telephone: (508) 747-5922

Quincy

275 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02171
Telephone: (617) 471-1600 

Roxbury

40 Dimock Street
Roxbury MA 02119
Telephone: (617)-442-5510 

Salem

35 Congress Street Building 2, Entrance D, Suite 105
Salem, MA 01970
Telephone: (978) 745-8085

Somerville

5 Middlesex Avenue, 3 rd Floor
Somerville, MA 02145
Telephone: (617) 776-2662

Springfield

1 Federal Street, Building 102-1
Springfield, MA 01105
Telephone: (413) 736-7296

Sturbridge

Fiske Hill Mall
57 Main Street
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Telephone: (508) 347-7661

Taunton

21 Spring Street, Suite
Taunton, MA 02780
Telephone: (508) 823-8141

Worcester

359 Main Street
Worcester MA 01608-1511
Telephone: (508) 754-1757

Getting Legal Help in Massachusetts

If you need legal help appealing a disability denial or want to be represented at your disability hearing, you can visit our Massachusetts disability lawyer page to find a local lawyer who can help you.

by: , Contributing Author

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