Disability Benefit Specialist
The Disability Benefit Specialists (DBS) provides information, counseling & assistance regarding public & private benefit programs to anyone 18 to 59 with a disability (physical, developmental, mental health and/or substance abuse issues).
Contact: Kay Hebert, Disability Benefit Specialist
How can a DBS Help Me?
The Specialist can provide accurate information on public & private benefits, as well as provide resources, referrals, assistance & support on other matters. Please visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below to get answers you may be looking for.
If you are signed on as a Client, the DBS can:
- Help you compare Medicare options, including Part D (Prescription) Plans
- Advocate & assist with an Appeal for Social Security Disability benefits
- Help determine which programs you may be entitled to by completing a “benefit checkup”
QUICK LINKS & RESOURCES
- Social Security benefits & questions
- Medical Assistance & FoodShare application or call 1-888-283-0012
- Housing and utility issues
- Prescriptions drug programs through Medicare
- Employment (page 12 of Resource Directory)
- Mental Health Services (page 27 of Resource Directory)
- List of Disability Attorneys for Social Security claims
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who will help me choose a Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug) Plan?
A. The Disability Benefit Specialist can assist if you’re new to Medicare or during Open Enrollment (October 15 –December 7). The DBS can also determine if you’re eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Another resource would be to contact 1-800-MEDICARE or visit medicare.gov
Q: Is there any financial assistance for help paying my Medicare costs?
A. Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for Extra Help with their Medicare prescription drug plan costs. The Extra Help is estimated to be worth about $4,000 per year. To qualify for the Extra Help, a person must be receiving Medicare & have limited resources and income. You should apply through both the options listed below:
1) Call Great Rivers Consortium 1-888-283-0012.
2) Call Social Security 1-866-815-2924, or go online.
Q. Because of my disability, I need help doing things such as laundry, cleaning, and other tasks I cannot do on my own. Is there any assistance to help me out?
A. Chippewa County has a Chore Service Program designed for Chippewa County resident with any kind of disability, and does not need to be considered "disabled" by Social Security to qualify. Once a person is approved, they can receive $100 a year to help offset the costs to hire out work that need done. There is an annual application process, and the paperwork can be found on this webpage above this FAQs section - see "QUICK LINKS & RESOURCES" section.
Q: I need help with my living situation – What resources are available to me?
A. Housing Authority provides a variety of programs and services, including referrals to other available resources.
Q. Am I eligible for Medical Assistance/BadgerCare, or FoodShare?
A. You can apply online or call Great Rivers Consortium (1-888-283-0012). You will may need to submit proof of your income, vehicles, and other items to determine eligibility.
Q. If I start working again, how will it impact the financial eligibility for public benefits?
A. The Disability Benefit Specialist can refer you to appropriate resources to obtain accurate & current information on the programs’ income limits.
- Social Security's Ticket to Work Program, please call 1-866-968-784.
- Medicaid Programs, please call Great Rivers Consortium 1-888-283-0012.
Social Security FAQs
Q. Does the Disability Benefit Specialist help people apply for Disability?
A. Referring to the diagram above this question, Chippewa County's Disability Benefit Specialist does not help with initial applications. However, the DBS may assist during the Reconsideration stage, depending on several factors. If a person's claim ends up going to a Hearing, the Specialist can provide a list of attorneys to contact.
Q. How do I apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?
A. You should apply directly through Social Security using any 3 of the following methods. The Disability Benefit Specialist (of Chippewa County) does not assist with completing initial applications for Social Security.
- Phone application by calling the Eau Claire SSA Office 1-866-815-2924
- Hours: Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 9:00-4:00 / Wed 9:00-12:00.
- In-person appointment by calling the Eau Claire SSA Office 1-866-815-2924 to schedule
Q. How does a person qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance?
A. First, a person must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security. Then Social Security reviews a “5 step” process to determine if you qualify:
1) Are you working?
2) Is your condition “severe”?
3) Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
4) Can you do the work you did previously?
5) Can you do any other type of work?
Q. I received paperwork from Social Security – I don’t know how to start filling it out. Help?
A. Unfortunately, there is no known resources that will just help you fill out Social Security paperwork. You must complete it the best that you can. Regarding Social Security Disability, just fill out the paperwork with the following statement in mind: “A Social Security Disability case is NOT about a person’s medical problems. Instead, the case is about the effect those medical problems have on the person’s ability to work.”
Q. How long will it take to get my Social Security Disability benefits after I apply?
A. After the initial application is submitted, it currently takes about 3-5 months for Social Security to make their decision. If denied and you choose to appeal the decision, it will take another 3-5 months. If denied again and you choose to appeal once more, it takes 1-2 years to get a Hearing with a Judge.
It is important to continue going to the doctor during this process to document your history of your condition(s). Update Social Security of any new records or changes. If you are denied, you can use your most recent medical evidence (that SSA hasn’t reviewed) to support your claim that you are disabled and unable to work.
Q. How much money would I be entitled to if I am determined Disabled under Social Security?
A. To get a personalized information, go online and create a mySocialSecurity account to view your detailed report.