If you live in Montana and become disabled, you can apply for Social Security disability (SSDI) if you've worked for many years or SSI if you have low income and assets. To apply, you can contact the Social Security field office nearest you or call Social Security at 800-772-1213. You can also start your application online. After you apply, what happens depends on what state you live in.
Unfortunately, Montana is not one of the states that offers short-term disability benefits for illness or injuries that prevent work for less than a year.
After Social Security takes your disability application, your file is sent to Montana's Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency. Montana's DDS is a part of the state's Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). Claims examiners who work at DDS request your medical records from your doctors, study your records, consult with an SSA doctor, and decide whether you are disabled under Social Security's definition.
DDS has one office in Montana. Its address is:
2550 Prospect Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone number: (406) 444-3054
If your initial claim is denied, the next step in Montana is to ask for a reconsideration. A different claims examiner at DDS will review your file. If your request for reconsideration is denied, then the next step is to ask for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). ALJ hearings are managed by Social Security's Office of Hearings Operations (OHO).
There is one OHO office in Montana. Its contact information is:
2900 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 500
Billings, Montana 59101
Phone number: 877-545-5512
When you request a hearing, you will have to wait many months to get a hearing date. The average amount of time it takes to get a hearing in Montana is 15 months. Since you (usually) only get one shot at a hearing, you may want to have a disability lawyer represent you.
Some adults receiving SSI in Montana are eligible for supplemental state payments of of $26 to $94, depending on the individual's living situation. SSI recipients who live independently are not eligible for a supplement, but SSI recipients who live an assisted living facility, a group home for the mentally ill or disabled, or a community home for the physically or developmentally disabled are eligible for a monthly supplement of $94. Children or adults who live in foster care homes are eligible for a monthly supplement of $52.75. Developmentally disabled individuals who live in transitional group homes are eligible for a monthly supplement of $26. Payments for couples who both receive SSI are a bit higher than double the amount of the individual supplement.
The Social Security Administration administers Montana's state supplement program. If you are applying for SSI and live in Montana, Social Security will consider whether you also qualify for the state supplement. You'll receive one combined check each month from Social Security.
If you already receive SSI but have recently moved into an institution or group home, then you should apply for the state supplement. First, you should notify Social Security of your changed living situation.
Montana's Medicaid program uses the same eligibility rules as SSI, so if you've been approved for SSI, you'll automatically qualify for Medicaid. Plus, Montana allows Social Security to enroll SSI recipients in Medicaid, so you don't need to apply separately as you do in some other states.