Applying for Disability in Florida: SSDI and SSI

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs, which means that the wait times for a disability hearing can be lengthy. This can be distressing if you are unable to work and feeling financially strapped.

The average disability application wait time to go before a judge varies city by city. Here’s a handful of wait times from some of the state’s larger offices*:

  • Jacksonville: 21.5 months
  • Tampa: 21 months
  • Orlando: 21 months
  • Miami: 21 months
  • Tallahassee: 17 months
  • Fort Myers: 15 months

In addition to the long wait times, the SSA reports that 72% of applications are initially denied, often due to a lack of medical evidence. Following a disability application denial, an appeal needs to be filed within 60 days; from there, it could take anywhere from three months to two years for a decision on the appeal.

Prerequisites for Receiving SSDI

SSDI works similarly to an insurance program—hence its name. To receive the benefit, applicants will have had to work for a specific period of time, paying into a Social Security Trust Fund through payroll taxes. In addition, applicants need to meet the following SSDI prerequisites:

  • You can no longer do the type of work you did before
  • You have worked and paid into Social Security earning satisfactory work credits
  • You cannot easily adjust to another type of work because of your medical condition
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death

Prerequisites for Receiving SSI

Fewer people are familiar with SSI. A program meant to cover the gap in Social Security retirement and disability programs, SSI is often used by those who cannot receive SSDI or retirement benefits because of the work history requirement. To qualify, applicants must identify and present proof of one of the following: 65 years of age or older, blind, or disabled. Other requirements include:

  • Limited income or resources
  • U.S. citizenship, national, or an alien in a certain category
  • Inability to work due to age or disability
  • Residence within the U.S. but not confined at the State’s expense (correctional or psychiatric facilities, etc)

Getting the Help You Need

The Florida disability application process has its challenges, but receiving the SSDI or SSI benefits you’re entitled to can be accomplished more easily with a disability advocate at your side. Our advocates know how to cut through the red tape to help get your disability application approved; if it’s not, we’ll go to work to ensure a fast appeal process. At Disability Experts of Florida, we have over 100 years of combined experience navigating the Sunshine State’s application process and have helped thousands receive the disability benefits they deserve. We can help you too.

Apply with a disability expert at your side.

We at Disability Experts of Florida will be with you every step of the way to organize your medical documents, complete paperwork, present your disability case—and cut through all the red tape.

Fill out the form and we’ll contact you on the next business day.