If you live in Louisiana and you have a severe physical or medical condition that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, in the form of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While SSDI and SSI are both federal programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Louisiana has its own agency that decides whether you are disabled and its appeals process is different from that of other states.
Louisiana Disability Determination Services
Louisiana’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) is a state-run agency that reviews your disability application and medical records to decide if you are disabled. DDS is required to use Social Security rules and procedures in making this decision.
After Social Security checks your application for basic SSDI or SSI eligibility, it forwards it to DDS. If you have questions about your case or its status, you can call DDS directly. There are three DDS offices in Louisiana; here is their contact information.
New Orleans DDS
3510 N. Causeway Blvd.
Metairie, LA 70002
Baton Rouge DDS
5825 Florida Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806
2920 Knight St.
Shreveport, LA 71105
Louisiana’s Disability Appeals Process
Louisiana is one of the states that Social Security chose to participate in a project to streamline the appeal process. As part of this project, the first step in the appeals process (a reconsideration by Louisiana DDS) was removed. As a result, there are now only three steps to the appeals process in Louisiana.
- Hearing. At the Social Security hearing office, an administrative law judge (ALJ) will consider up-to-date medical evidence that you submit and will review the decision made by Louisiana DDS. You will receive a decision by mail that the ALJ either approved or denied your benefits.
- Appeals Council. If the Appeals Council finds the ALJ decided your case based on incorrect procedures or law, the Appeals Council can hear the case itself or can remand it (send it back) to the ALJ to be re-decided.
- Federal Court. If the Appeals Council decides not to review your claim or denies it, you can bring your case to federal court. Louisiana has three federal district courts: western, middle, and eastern.
Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is the office that handles the disability hearings. There are four ODAR offices in Louisiana. Here is their contact information.
New Orleans ODAR
1515 Poydras St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
1 Galleria Blvd., Suite 2000
Metairie, LA 70001
3403 Government Street
Alexandria, LA 71302
401 Edwards St., Suite 700
Shreveport, LA 71101
Amount of SSI in Louisiana
Some states pay extra money to their SSI recipients, on top of the federal payment of $710 each month. Louisiana, however, pays a “supplement” only to those who are living in a nursing home paid for by Medicaid, and the supplement is only $8 (and note that the federal payment for those in a nursing home paid for by Medicaid is only $30 per month).
Finding a Disability Lawyer in Louisiana
When you are appealing a denial of disability benefits, you should strongly consider hiring a lawyer. Even on appeal, most disability claimants (applicants) in Louisiana are denied benefits. You significantly increase your chances of winning if you hire an attorney who specializes in Social Security disability law. You can arrange a free consultation with a Louisiana disability lawyer here.