Enter Your Zip Code to Connect with a Lawyer Serving Your Area
If you live in Michigan and are unable to work due to illness or injury for at least a one-year period, you could be eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These federal programs provide monthly cash payments to qualified individuals.
There are multiple ways to file for Social Security disability in Michigan. You can file in person at a local Social Security Administration (SSA) field office (there are 50 of them). Or you can telephone the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or apply online at www.ssa.gov (you can apply for SSD only online – not SSI).
To apply for disability benefits in Michigan, you’ll need to have a significant amount of information on hand, including details about the condition(s) that cause you to be unable to work, medical or psychiatric treatment you’ve obtained (including doctors' contact information), and your past employment and earnings. (Learn more about filing a disability claim.)
After you file your application, it will be sent to Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state-level agency under the Michigan Department of Health Services. A claims examiner at DDS will decide whether you are disabled.
Approximately three to four months after you file for disability, you’ll receive a written decision in the mail. Less than a third of those who apply for SSD in Michigan are approved for benefits upon their initial application. However, a significant number are granted benefits at a later stage of the disability appeals process.
You have 60 days to submit a “Request for Reconsideration” form to the SSA. This will result in your claim being reexamined by a different examiner at DDS to ensure that the disability denial was appropriate. (Although the SSA previously removed the reconsideration step as part of their prototype test, it has since been reinstated in Michigan.)
If the reconsideration of your claim results in a second denial of Social Security benefits, you can then request a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). In Michigan, approximately half of these administrative hearings result in the disability applicant being awarded benefits. However, it’s likely that you’ll face a long wait before your hearing date. The average wait for a disability hearing in Michigan is over a year, around 420 days (much longer than the national average).
At your disability hearing, you’ll have the chance to testify about your inability to work. The ALJ might ask you questions about your past employment or what you can and can’t do, and the SSA could hire a medical and/or vocational (employment) expert to give their opinions. In most cases, you’ll receive the judge’s decision in the mail within 30 days of your hearing.
If your disability hearing results in an unfavorable decision (you are denied benefits), there are two more steps in the SSD appeals process – an Appeals Council review, and the filing of a case in United States District Court of Eastern Michigan or Western Michigan. Few disability applicants have their claims approved at these levels, and you’ll need to retain a licensed attorney should you decide to file a court case as a result of your denied disability claim.
If you haven’t worked long enough, or recently enough, to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, you could still be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. SSI is a needs-based federal disability program and there are no earnings requirements. However, you do have to fall under strict (and complex) asset and income limits to qualify for SSI benefits.
Those who receive SSI in Michigan may be eligible for an additional monthly payment from the state. The amount of this benefit varies depending on the living arrangements of the disabled person. For example, under the current laws, Michigan SSI recipients who reside in a Medicaid facility would receive only $7 extra per month, but those who live independently would get an extra $14 each month, and those who live in a private home for the aged would get an extra $179 per month.
The Michigan Department of Human Services administers the state supplement for those living in a private residence; the Social Security Administration administers the payment for all others.
There are 50 Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices in Michigan – you can locate the nearest one on the SSA’s website. Once your file has been sent to a DDS office, you should contact that office with any questions or to check the status of your claim.
The primary responsibility of Disability Determination Services (DDS) is making decisions on Social Security disability and SSI disability claims. In Michigan, there are four DDS offices, listed below.
P.O. Box 30011
Lansing, MI 48909
Traverse City DDS
P.O. Box 1200
Traverse City, MI 49685
P.O. Box 4020
Kalamazoo, MI 49003
P.O. Box 345
Detroit, MI 48231
Disability hearings in Michigan are held at Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) offices. Contact information for Michigan’s ODAR offices is listed below.
Detroit Hearing Office
Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building
477 Michigan Avenue, Room 900
Detroit, Michigan 48226
Tel: (888) 748-7696
Fax: (313) 226-3625
Flint Hearing Office
300 West Second Street
Flint, Michigan 48502-2047
Tel: (877) 607-9526
Fax: (810) 257-3641
Grand Rapids Hearing Office
Campau Square Plaza Building, Suite 300
99 Monroe NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Tel: (866) 613-2860
Fax: (616) 456-9061
Lansing Hearing Office
4202 Collins Road
Lansing, Michigan 48910
Tel: (877) 691-6144
Fax: (517) 337-4071
Livonia Hearing Office
19575 Victor Parkway
Livonia, Michigan 48152
Tel: (866) 530-7806
Fax: (734) 805-2056
Mount Pleasant Hearing Office
4035 Sweeney Road
Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858
Tel: (866) 873-6604
Fax: (989) 773-1579
Oak Park Hearing Office
Crown Pointe Building, Suite 500
25900 Greenfield Road
Oak Park, Michigan 48237-1267
Tel: (877) 223-6060
Fax: (248) 968-0205
Disabled Michigan workers who are interested in receiving vocational rehabilitation services can contact Michigan Rehabilitation Services. Located in Lansing, the MRS partners with numerous other state agencies to help individuals with disabilities find and maintain employment. More information can be found on the MRS website.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the disability application and appeals process. If your disability application and your reconsideration are denied, you should strongly consider hiring an attorney to represent you at your hearing. An experienced Social Security disability attorney can increase your chances of winning your case. To find a lawyer in your area, see our Michigan disability attorney page.
by: Alison Barjaktarovich, Contributing Author