We created a infographic to provide the public with clear information on disability approval rates and the best and the worst states according to the SSDI and SSI disability approval rates. Applying for SSI (Supplemental Security Income – Social Security disability) benefits can be a long, difficult process. People often face a great deal of financial hardship during this time. Many disabled Americans must attend hearings or request that the government reconsider their applications. Although SSI is a federal program, it remains much harder to obtain benefits in some states than others. This proves especially true when hearings become necessary. (Continue after….)


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Judges award benefits to about 46 percent of American disability applicants who attend hearings. However, approval rates are significantly lower in some states; Alaska’s rate is only 17 percent. It is also more difficult to obtain benefits in Alaska because all residents must travel to a single hearings office in Anchorage. Other states with approval rates below 40 percent include Delaware, Rhode Island, Kansas, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin waiting times for hearings also vary considerably. A person’s medical status and financial needs may change during this period of time, making the process even more complicated. The national average is almost 12 months, but people in some states wait two to four months longer. Delays tend to be lengthy in heavily populated states on the east coast. Delaware is the only state that combines a long waiting time with a relatively low approval rate.

On average, Maryland residents wait slightly more than 16 months for SSI disability hearings. Delaware is in second place with a waiting time of approximately 1.25 years. People in Oregon and North Carolina wait almost 15 months, and Florida also has a moderately long waiting time. Keep in mind that these delays may vary in different parts of a state if it has multiple hearings offices.

Waiting times for application processing are different in each state as well. Americans typically wait about a year for the government to process their SSI disability requests. The Social Security offices in some cities take up to three extra months to accomplish this. Average delays range from 440 to 460 days in Delaware, Oregon, North Carolina and Florida. People in Maryland wait nearly 16 months for applications to be processed.

This data suggests that citizens have the most difficulty obtaining SSI disability benefits in Delaware, Maryland and Alaska. Disabled residents of these states may benefit from moving elsewhere if they need assistance soon. Another way to expedite the process and increase the likelihood of approval is to hire an experienced lawyer. Approval rates are about 20 percent higher for people who attend hearings with lawyers.

Author – Brad Myler