Iowa Social Security Disability Benefits

Find out about Iowa's state supplemental payments, plus how to appeal a denial of Social Security disability or SSI and whether you qualify for Medicaid.

Persons with disabilities in the state of Iowa have a few options for getting disability benefits when they are no longer able to work or do more than a minimal amount of work. First, the Social Security Administration (SSA) administers two federal programs that provide disability benefits. Second, for injuries or illnesses that occurred on the job, Iowa's worker’s compensation program can provide cash benefits. (Beware: Social Security's definition of disability is very different than the workers' comp definition.) Unlike a few other states, Iowa does not offer short-term disability benefits to its residents.

Social Security Disability Benefits

The SSA runs two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is available to those who have sufficient work credits through Social Security tax contributions. SSI provides monthly benefits to those with low income and resources. Those who qualify for SSI will automatically qualify for Iowa's Medicaid program, and sometimes food assistance as well.

Eligibility for SSDI and SSI depends on whether you do a substantial amount of work, what the SSA calls "substantial gainful activity" (SGA). SSA usually regards SGA as being able to earn at least $1,180 per month (in 2018). Claims examiners at Iowa's Disability Determination Services Bureau (DDSB) will review your medical records and decide whether you should be able to do SGA.

After your local Social Security Administration office reviews your disability application for technical requirements (such as amount of work credits or monthly income), the SSA sends it to DDSB. DDSB is a state agency in charge of making disability determinations for the SSA (as well as Medicaid eligibility decisions for the State of Iowa). DDSB is administered by Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Once you file your application, contact the DDSB office if you have questions or want to know the status of your application. Below is the contact information for DDSB.

510 East 12th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319

Iowa's State Supplement to SSI

The State of Iowa adds on a state supplementary payment, called State Supplementary Assistance, to some disabled adults who receive SSI, depending on their living arrangements.

Living Arrangement

Payment for Individual

Living with a dependent person


Family life or boarding home


Living with a dependent person in the household of another


Residential care


In-home health care


There is no state supplement for those living on their own, unless they are blind (in which case they receive a $22 supplement). The Social Security Administration administers Iowa's state supplement for most SSI recipients, but Iowa's Department of Human Services administers the payment for those living in residential care or receiving in-home health care.

Iowa Workers' Comp

Like most states, Iowa requires employers to provide worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. If you are a worker who is disabled due to a job-related accident or illness, you may be entitled to "permanent" worker’s comp benefits. If you receive a permanent disability settlement from workers' comp, it may be partially offset against (subtracted from) your SSDI or SSI payments.

    Disability Advocacy Resources in Iowa

    Assistance and advocacy for persons with disabilities are available through:

    Iowa Protection and Advocacy Services
    950 Office Park Road, Suite 221
    West Des Moines, IA 50265

    To arrange a consultation with a disability lawyer in Iowa, use our disability attorney directory.

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