Alaska Disability Benefits: Social Security Filing and Insurance Options
Find out about Alaska's state supplemental payments, plus how to appeal a denial of Social Security disability or SSI and whether you qualify for Medicaid.
Alaska has Social Security offices in Fairbanks, Anchorage, Juneau, and Ketchikan. If you are a resident of Alaska seeking to apply for SSI or SSDI, you can contact the Social Security office nearest you, or you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213. You can also start an application for Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits online. You must call or visit the office to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Disability Approval Process in Alaska
Once Social Security determines that an Alaskan disability claimant meets the basic eligibility criteria for either SSDI or SSI, the agency sends the claimant’s file to Alaska’s Disability Determination Service (DDS). DDS is run by the State of Alaska’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. DDS has one office, located in Anchorage. DDS can be contacted by telephone at 800-577-3334.
When the DDS denies an initial claim in Alaska, you do not have to file a request for reconsideration with DDS, as you do in other states. Instead, you can immediately request an appeal hearing. Claimants have 60 days to appeal the denial, and their appeals are scheduled for hearings with an administrative law judge. Most cases proceed to a hearing within a year.
The administrative law judges who hear cases in Alaska travel out of Social Security’s Region X Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in Seattle. Alaska has one ODAR office, and it holds all of the disability hearings for denied claims. ODAR is located at 188 W Northern Lights Blvd., 6th Floor, Anchorage, AK 99513; its telephone number is (855) 602-5004.
You can locate an attorney to handle your disability case in Alaska by using our disability attorney locator tool.
Supplemental State Payments
Most adults receiving SSI in Alaska are also eligible for Adult Public Assistance (APA), a supplemental benefit program that is run by the state. APA is $362 per month for adults living independently who receive the full federal benefit rate in SSI ($710 in 2013). In other words, an individual SSI recipient, living independently, can receive $1072 per month, including both the federal payment and the state supplement.
APA payment amounts vary depending on the SSI recipient’s living situation, however. For example, those living in assisted living facilities are eligible for APA payments of only $100 per month, and those in Medicaid facilities can receive a maximum of $45 per month. Children are not eligible for APA. Seniors who live in the Alaska Pioneer Homes are also not eligible for APA.
Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Assistance, administers the APA program. To apply for APA, visit your local DPA office. A list of locations is on DHSS's website. You can also access the APA application online at alaska.gov, fill, it out, and either mail it to or drop it off at your local office.
SSI Eligibility and the PFD
Social Security does count the Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) that all Alaskans receive each October when determining continuing eligibility for SSI benefits. The PFD was $878 in 2012. The PFD is considered income in the first month that it is received and a resource in every month after, that if it remains unspent.
However, for the first four months after receiving the PFD, the State of Alaska will reimburse Social Security for any overpayments of SSI caused by the PFD, rather than allowing Social Security to seek repayment from the SSI recipient. So Alaskans on SSI have four months to spend their PFDs before their SSI is reduced, or they personally will have to repay an overpayment.