Filing for Disability in Indiana

Indiana approves fewer initial Social Security disability applications than other states, but more are approved on appeal.

By , Contributing Author
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While Social Security disability benefits are provided through a federal program, there are differences between the states. Below are some of the most common questions answered regarding Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits in Indiana.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Indiana?

There are two types of Social Security disability benefits for which those who become disabled may be eligible: Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). All initial applications for SSDI or SSI must be filed either with your local Social Security office or online at the Social Security website (the online application is generally for SSDI only). In Indiana, there are 26 local Social Security field offices spread throughout the state. (The quickest way to find the one closest to you is to use Social Security's office finder.)

Your local Social Security office will review your application to make sure you meet all the technical qualifications (such as work credit requirements and income limits). If you meet all the technical requirements, your application will be sent to the Indiana Disability Determination Bureau (DDB) for a medical determination to be made on your case. The DDB decides whether you will receive benefits based on your disability.

What happens if my application is denied or I am not satisfied with the results of my decision?

If you are not satisfied with the decision you receive from the Indiana DDB, you have the right to appeal your decision. Indiana has a four-step appeals process that you can use if you are not satisfied with your decision.

The first appeals step is reconsideration. In a reconsideration, you request that the DDB review your case by a claims examiner who has not previously reviewed your case. In Indiana, less than 10% of denied claims get approved at the reconsideration level.

The second appeals step is a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ) employed by the Social Security Administration (SSA). At this step, you will have the opportunity to appear at a hearing in front of the ALJ and answer questions asked by the ALJ and your lawyer, if you have one. You will also be able to bring witnesses with you to your hearing who can testify about your limitations. The hearing will be held at one of the five hearing offices that serve Indiana (see below for contact information). To learn more about hearings, see our section on disability appeal hearings.

The third appeals step is the Appeals Council. The Appeals Council will only take cases that were decided incorrectly or where a procedural error was made in the case. The Appeals Council is also located at one of the Indiana hearing offices. (Learn how to appeal to the Disability Appeals Council.)

The fourth and last appeals step is to file a lawsuit in federal district court. There are two district courts in Indiana, for the Northern District and the Southern District.

What are my chances of being approved for disability benefits?

In Indiana, the approval rate for disability benefits is slightly lower than the national averages in all categories. And the wait time for hearings is slightly longer than the national average, with those in Indiana waiting 15 months for a hearing date, compared to the national average of 348 days. Below is a chart that compares Indiana approval rates to the national average.

Indiana Approval Rate

National Approval Rate

Initial Application

30%

35%

Reconsideration

10%

13%

Hearing

52%

45%

Does Indiana add a state supplement to the federal SSI payment?

The source of payment for SSI comes from the federal government, but individual states can chose to pay additional money to their residents. In Indiana, there is no supplemental cash payment, but individuals who live in licensed residential facilities or Medicaid facilities can have their room and board covered by the state. The program, called the Residential Care Assistance Program (RCAP), is administered by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, Division of Aging.

Are there services that can help me if I am struggling to get or keep a job after I become disabled?

In Indiana, the Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) is a program that was created to help disabled individuals prepare for, obtain, and retain jobs. Supported Employment (SE) is also available for individuals who are severely disabled and need hands-on assistance in the work place. In order to receive services, you must fill out an application at your local VRS office.

How do I check the status of my application?

As discussed above, the Indiana DDB reviews all initial applications and makes a decision regarding benefits, based on your medical records. After your application is filed with your local SSA office, you should direct all questions to DDB. Below is the contact information for DDB.

Indiana Disability Determination Bureau
P.O. Box 7069
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7069

Pending Claim Inquiries: (800) 622-4968

How do I get in touch with someone regarding my appeal?

Once you claim is in the appeals process, all work related to your claim is handled by the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), otherwise known as the hearings office. There are five OHO offices that serve Indiana, with four offices in state and one in Ohio. Below is the contact information for all OHO offices serving the state.

Indianapolis
Market Square Center, Suite 400
151 North Delaware Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Phone: (866) 931-4820
Serves: Anderson, Bloomington, Columbus, Indianapolis Downtown, Indianapolis Northeast, Indianapolis West, Kokomo, Muncie, Terre Haute, Richmond

Valparaiso
1250 Eastport Centre Drive
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Phone: (866) 873-1269
Serves: Gary, Hammond, Lafayette, Merrillville, Michigan City, South Bend, Valparaiso

Fort Wayne
6511 Brotherhood Way
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
Phone: (866) 770-1735
Serves: Auburn, Elkhart, Fort Wayne, Marion

Evansville
Old Post Office, 2nd & 3rd Floors
100 NW Second Street
Evansville, IN 47708
Phone: (855) 863-3559
Serves Evansville and Vincennes

Cincinnati
J.W. Peck Federal Building, Suite 4-510
550 Main Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: (877) 405-7672
Serves Madison, Indiana

Finding a Disability Lawyer in Indiana

If you've been denied disability, you may want to hire a legal representative for your ALJ hearing. Having a disability lawyer greatly increases your chances of winning at your disability hearing. (Here's how a lawyer helps.) You can visit our Indiana disability lawyer page to find a local lawyer who can help you with your claim.

Updated June 27, 2019

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