Filing for Social Security Disability in Montana

If you live in Montana and can’t work for at least a year, you could be eligible for Social Security disability (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

If you live in Montana and can't work for at least a year, you could be eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These federal disability programs provide monthly payments to those who meet certain requirements.

Those who have worked and paid into the Social Security system in recent years may qualify for SSDI benefits, while Montana residents who have minimal to no past earnings could be eligible for SSI, if their income and assets fall under the established limits.

Filing for Social Security Disability in Montana

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both Social Security disability and SSI benefits. The agency offer multiple ways you can apply for disability benefits, including

  • Visiting an SSA branch office to apply in person. You can find the closest Social Security office in Montana by visiting the SSA office locator.
  • Calling the SSA at 800-772-1213. You can apply for disability benefits via telephone or set up an appointment to apply for Social Security in person (which may cut down on your wait time at your local SSA office.)
  • Applying for Social Security disability online at www.ssa.gov. (Note: Most applicants for SSI cannot use the online service).

Appealing a Disability Denial in Montana

Unfortunately, around 37% of those who apply for disability benefits in Montana receive a denial, meaning it was determined that they are not eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security sends out disability decisions in writing an average of three to four months after the application is submitted (but it sometimes takes longer).

The most common reason a Social Security claim is denied is due to a lack of sufficient evidence (such as medical records) to prove that the applicant suffers from a long-term serious disability.

Stage of Application

Montana

Nationally

Initial Application Approval

37%

35%

Reconsideration Approval

18%

13%

Hearing Approval

45%

46%

Hearing Wait Time

15 months

18 months

Request for Reconsideration

In Montana, if your application for disability benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision by filing a "Request for Reconsideration" form with the SSA. Your claim will be reviewed by someone other than the claims examiner who initially denied it, and you should be notified of the new decision in one to three months. Approximately 18% of Montana disability claims are approved at the reconsideration step.

The Second Appeal – Disability Hearing

If you receive a second denial after reconsideration, the next step is to request a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ). The wait for a disability hearing can be long – the average in Montana is 15 months. At your disability hearing, you'll have the chance to speak directly to the person who will be deciding whether or not you're eligible for disability: the ALJ. You'll receive the judge's decision in writing within 30 days of your hearing. At this stage, about 45% of disability hearings in Montana result in the claimant being awarded Social Security disability benefits.

If You're Denied Benefits After Your Disability Hearing

If your hearing results in an unfavorable decision (meaning the ALJ denies your claim), there are two more steps in the appeals process. First, you can ask Social Security's Appeals Council to review your claim. If that's unsuccessful, you can file a case in federal court. However, relatively few Montana disability claims are approved at these last two levels.

Montana SSI Supplement

Montana residents who receive SSI and live in a group or community home can receive an additional monthly payment from the state. In 2019, Montana SSI recipients who reside in an assisted living home will receive $94, those who live in an adult foster home get $52.75, and the amount for SSI beneficiaries who live in a transitional home for those with developmental disabilities is $26.00. This is in addition to the federal SSI amount of $771 (in 2019).

You can apply for the state supplement at Developmental Disabilities and Adult Protective Services District Offices or the Child and Family Services Division of the Department of Public Health and Human Services.

Montana DDS Office

Montana Disability Determination Services (DDS) is the state agency that's responsible for making the initial decisions on Social Security disability claims for Montanans. Although the SSA processes all initial disability applications, Montana DDS claims examiners and medical professionals employed by the Montana DDS decide whether or not to approve your disability claim. Here is the DDS's contact information.

Montana Disability Determination Services (DDS)
2550 Prospect Drive
Helena, MT 59601
Tel: (406) 444-3054

Disability Hearing Offices in Montana

The SSA holds disability appeal hearings at Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) locations. There is one OHO office in Montana, which is located in Billings. Here is its contact information.

Billings OHO
2900 Fourth Avenue North
Suite 500
Billings, MT 59101
Tel: (877) 545-5512
Fax: (406) 247-7555

Montana Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Montana Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (VRBS) offers assistance to disabled Montana residents who want to return to work. This includes career counseling, job training and job placement, and referrals for medical and psychological services. There are numerous VRBS locations throughout Montana. You can find more information on the VRBS website at https://dphhs.mt.gov/detd/vocrehab. Here is its address:

Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services
Vocational Rehabilitation and Blind Services (Central Office)
111 North Last Chance Gulch
Suite 4C
P.O. Box 4210
Helena, MT 59604
Tel: (877)-296-1197
Fax: (406) 444-3632

Assistance With your Montana Disability Case

An experienced Montana Social Security disability attorney can assist you if you've already had your disability claim denied. Hearing approval rates increase when you're represented by a lawyer. Contact a Montana disability lawyer to arrange a free consultation.

Talk to a Disability Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Boost Your Chance of Being Approved

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Our experts have helped thousands like you get cash benefits.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you