If you live in Missouri and you're unable to work for medical reasons, you can apply for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Once you have filed for Social Security Disability Insurance and/or Supplemental Security Income and SSA has determined that you meet all the non-medical requirements (mostly related to your income and work history), your case will be transferred to Missouri's Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency. DDS will assign your case to a claims examiner who will decide whether you meet the medical requirements for disability benefits.
In Missouri, less than one-third of disability applications are approved at the initial level, which is about the same as the national rate of approval for disability claims.
The Appeals Process in Missouri
If DDS denies your claim at the initial level, you have 60 days to ask for an appeal. In some states, you start with a level of appeal known as the reconsideration stage. In Missouri and several other "prototype states," however, the reconsideration stage has been eliminated in an effort to move cases more quickly through the system. As a result, a disability case in Missouri goes directly from the initial level to a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge at an SSA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR).
The wait time for a hearing in Missouri, as in the rest of the country, can be very long. As of November 2012, the average wait to get an appeal hearing in the state of Missouri was 13.3 months from the date of your hearing request, although your actual wait will vary depending on where you live. In the Kansas City, Springfield, Columbia, and Creve Coeur hearing offices, the wait is twelve to thirteen months; in St. Louis it is fifteen months. The average wait times in Missouri somewhat exceed the national average of just over 11 months.
The contact information for Missouri's Regional Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is as follows:
SSA, Office of Disability Adjudication and Review
1100 Main Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64105-5163
Telephone: (888) 238-7975
Fax: (816) 842-4250
Missouri's State Supplement for SSI
In 2013, the federal government's maximum monthly SSI payment is $710 for an eligible individual and $1,066 for eligible couples. In addition, the state of Missouri offers additional benefits to SSI recipients who meet all of the following conditions:
- Disabled or blind and over 18, or elderly
- Residing in a licensed residential or intermediate care facility or skilled nursing home that is not a Medicaid facility, and
- Does not have enough money to pay for care in the facility.
This program is administered by the State Department of Social Services, Family Support Division. If you have a question about Missouri's SSI state supplement, contact the Family Support Division at (573) 751-3221 or online at http://dss.mo.gov/fsd/office.
Medicaid Eligibility in Missouri
If you are approved for SSI, you are not automatically eligible for Medicaid in Missouri (now called MO HealthNet). While Missouri's income limits for Medicaid are slightly higher than the SSI program's, Virginia's asset limits for Medicaid are significantly lower than SSI's; thus, not everyone who qualifies for SSI qualifies for Medicaid.
Missouri's assets limits for Medicaid (for nonblind people with permanent disabilities) are $1,000 for an individual and $2,000 for a couple.
Missouri's income limits are based on 85% of the Federal Poverty Level, and are $814 for an individual and $1,099 for a couple. The State of Missouri allows you to deduct your medical expenses from your income when presenting your countable income to Medicaid for the income test.
To apply for Medicaid, submit an application to your local Department of Social Services.
Disability Attorneys in Missouri
If your application for disability benefits has been denied, or if you need help filing for benefits, contact an attorney for a free consultation. Our Missouri disability lawyers page can help you find an attorney in your area.