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Applying for Disabilities Claim

In Florida, you can apply for the federal Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), as well as state-sponsored vocational rehabilitation services.

To qualify for a disability claim, it must be seen that there is a physical or mental impairment that prevents you from working and getting Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). The impairment must be documented by a medical doctor and be shown to have lasted for one year, or be forecasted to last one year in the future.

An application can be made online on the Social Security Administration website, or at the nearest SSA office. In Jacksonville, the office is located at DeSoto Building, Suite 400, 8880 Freedom Crossing Trail.

Your application is forwarded to the Division of Disability Determinations which is under Florida’s Department of Health. It will be assigned to a disabilities examiner. Florida allows the disabilities examiner to make a decision on physical impairments without consulting a medical doctor. However, mental impairments must be examined in consultation with a recognized psychiatrist.  A determination is usually done in 80-120 days.

How Much Do You Get?

An individual adult can expect $776.40 while an adult couple gets $1,204.80. This amount applies for assisted living individuals and couples as well. An individual will get $70 in Medicaid while a couple gets $1,058.


If your application is turned by the DDD, you can appeal for a reconsideration. The case is assigned to a new disabilities examiner. Statistics show that you have an 8.9% chance of success at a reconsideration.

If the reconsideration fails, you can appeal for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. There is a longer waiting time before a hearing, usually around 342 days. However, your chances increase significantly at a hearing since you are doing a face to face interview. You stand a 48.3% chance of a successful hearing.

The next appeals stage is the Social Security Appels Council. The AC will hear your case only if they believe that there were procedural problems in your appeal at the ALJ. They can advise the ALJ to review the case, reverse the ALJ ruling or turn down your appeal.

The final appeals stage in Florida is the federal court. You can file an appeal at the Florida federal district court.

Vocational Rehabilitation

If you believe you can work for gainful employment, the Florida’s Department of Education runs the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to help you return to work. The offices of the DVR are at Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Florida Department of Education

Tallahassee, FL 323201

Phone: (800) 451-4327