If you live in Indiana and the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that you meet its definition of disabled, you may be eligible for either Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security income (SSI.) Although these are both federal programs, each state administers portions of the programs on behalf of the SSA. This means that there are differences among the states as to what agency decides whether you are disabled, how much SSI a person may be entitled to, and whether you automatically qualify for Medicaid.
Regardless of the state you live in, the SSA gives you three different ways to apply for disability, depending on whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI.
Online application for SSDI only. If you are applying for SSDI, you can apply online at www.ssa.gov/pgm/disability.htm. When you first start the application the SSA will assign you an application number. Make sure that you write down the number because you will need it if you need to go back to your application at a later time. If you lose the number it cannot be reissued and you will have to restart the online application process.
In person. If you are applying for SSI or SSDI, you can go to one of the 25 local field offices in Indiana and apply in person. You can find your local field office on the SSA’s website by entering your zip code into the locator. You should also call the SSA at 800-772-1213 before you go to your field office to see if it requires an appointment.
By telephone. The SSA also allows either SSI or SSDI applicants to apply by phone. This can be a good option if your disability makes traveling hard or if you live too far from your local field office.
For the year 2013, the federal government pays up to $710 in SSI to Indianans. In addition, if you get SSI and live in a non-Medicaid licensed residential facility, you can receive an additional $827.06 from the state. If you live in a Medicaid facility, you can receive only an additional $22 a month from the state. You can apply for the state supplement at Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), Department of Aging. For more information see its FSSA website.
The Disability Determination Bureau (DDB), which is a part of Indiana’s Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services, is the state organization that will make the initial decisions about whether or not you are eligible for disability under the SSA’s guidelines. Here is the DDB’s contact information:
P.O. Box 7069
Indianapolis, IN 46207-7069
You may be eligible for Medicaid if you meet Indiana’s guidelines, which are similar to the SSA’s requirements for disability. You will need to file a separate application with the Division of Family Resources (DFR), a division of the FSSA. Each county has its own DFR office, but you can visit its FSSA website and enter your zip code to find the one closest to you.
Eligibility for Medicaid depends on your medical condition and whether you meet the income and asset requirements.
Medical requirement. You must have a complex medical condition that requires direct assistance from another person for one of the following:
You may also be eligible for Medicaid you are diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and have a TBI Waiver.
Income. You must also meet the following income requirements:
Individual income up to 300% of the maximum SSI benefit amount. (As of January 1, 2013, this limit is $2,130 per month.) This limit will adjust each year depending on whether there are any changes to the SSI benefit amount.
Even if you earn more than 300% of the maximum SSI benefit, you may still be eligible using Medicaid spend down, where you spend down part of your income on medical and other expenses to become eligible for Medicaid.
Note that if the applicant is a child under the age of 18, parental income and resources are not used to determine Medicaid eligibility.
Assets. You can have no more than $1,000 in assets (such as checking accounts, retirement, and other property besides your home). Assets do not include your family home and personal belongings like appliances, clothes, or jewelry. Up to $5,000 of equity in your car is also excluded from being counted as an asset.
The application and eligibility process for Indiana's Medicaid program is complicated, so you should call DFR at 800-403-0864 for assistance.
The disability process is long and can be both confusing and frustrating. It may be helpful to contact an experienced disability attorney to talk about your case, especially if you are denied disability benefits after you file your application. To find a disability lawyer in your area of Indiana, fill out our disability attorney consultation request.