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If you’re a Florida resident and have a disability that keeps you from working, you may be eligible for disability benefits under the SSA federal programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Though both Social Security disability programs are administered at the federal government level, Florida’s Division of Disability Determinations is responsible for confirming medical eligibility for Florida citizens who apply for either benefit program.
This division also oversees periodic continuing disability reviews of all Social Security Administration disability beneficiaries to ensure that each person receiving Social Security disability benefits continues to meet all medical eligibility criteria for compensation.
Florida and Documented Disabilities
Nearly 5 million Florida adult residents report having documented disabilities of some kind, which represents roughly 28% of the state population. These adults also are more likely to be obese, to smoke, and to have heart disease and/or diabetes.
Together, these documented disabilities cost the state of Florida upwards of $53 billion in health care costs each year, representing 35 percent of Florida’s overall health care spending. This equates to roughly $15,000 in expenses each year for each disabled Florida resident.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Florida
Since SSDI is a federal program, all applicants must meet federal requirements for eligibility.
First, an applicant must meet non-medical eligibility criteria, which entails the person having worked a sufficient time to accrue an appropriate level of work credits through the SSA.
An applicant typically must have earned 40 credits to be SSDI eligible, 20 of which were earned during the most recent 10 years. You must also show a documented disabling condition that meets the SSA’s strict definition of total disability.
The SSA generally awards compensation benefits to those whose medical conditions prohibit them from working for at least one year, or whose conditions are terminal.
How To Apply for SSDI in Florida
In Florida, you may apply for Social Security benefits at any of the 54 local SSA field offices, or online at www.ssa.gov. Your application will then be forwarded to the Division of Disability Determinations for a decision regarding whether your disability meets the SSA’s strict definition.
Your claim will likely be reviewed by a claims examiner and medical consultant working in partnership. If you are determined medically eligible, the claim then will be returned to the SSA to make a decision regarding your non-medical eligibility.
How To Appeal a Denial in Florida
Unfortunately, it’s common for initial claims to be denied in Florida. Though approval rates have risen in Florida over the last few years, they still only meet the national approval rate of roughly 30%.
If you disagree with the decision regarding your disability claim, you have the right to appeal. Many applicants choose to engage with a qualified disability attorney or disability advocate who can help guide them through the remaining stages of the process.
The first stage of the appeals process is to request reconsideration. In this phase, your disability claim will be reviewed by an examiner who did not participate in your original review. You may also submit any new evidence or documentation if you have it.
At this point, if your disability claim continues to be denied, you may request a disability hearing with an administrative law judge. 56% of appeals are won at this stage, which isn’t too surprising, considering it is the first chance a reviewer has to meet you and hear the full story of how your disability affects your life.
If you still receive an unfavorable disability determination after your disability hearing, your final option is to submit a request for appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The council will change the decision only if they believe your claim was adjudicated inappropriately.
More Florida Benefits
In addition to its SSDI benefits program, Florida administers other programs to help its most vulnerable residents, including those outlined below.
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits in Florida, applicants must show proof of limited income and be either disabled, blind, or over 65 years of age.
Other SSI requirements include:
- Limited income or resources
- U.S. citizenship or legally authorized to live and work in the United States;
- Inability to work due to age or disability
Individual Florida residents can receive up to $771 as a monthly benefit through the SSI program. Additionally, Florida has chosen to increase supplemental disability payments to individuals living in community care programs or Medicaid facilities.
Florida Medicaid is a state and federal partnership that provides health care coverage for low-income Florida residents.
Qualified applicants typically meet the following eligibility requirements:
- Florida resident
- U.S. citizen or legally authorized to live and work in the United States
- Income classified as low or very low
In addition, an applicant must show that one of the following is the case:
- The person is pregnant
- The person is responsible for a child 18 years old or younger
- The person is blind
- The person has a disability or lives with someone who has a disability
- The person is 65 years old or older
Medicaid services in the state of Florida are administered through the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration. Florida residents may apply online at www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/.
Unemployment insurance benefits in Florida are known throughout the state as reemployment assistance benefits. The program provides temporary financial assistance for Florida residents who have lost employment through no fault of their own.
To be eligible for Florida unemployment benefits, a Florida employee must have worked in Florida over the past 12 months and have earned a minimum amount in wages, as determined by Florida law.
Those who receive unemployment compensation must show that they are able to work and available for suitable work during each week they receive unemployment assistance. Interested applicants may submit an initial claim through CONNECT, Florida’s Reemployment Assistance System.
Florida Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Florida|
|Lake City SSA Office||1348 SW Bascom Norris|
Lake City, FL 32025
|Port St Lucie SSA Office||6810 S US Hwy 1|
Port St Lucie, FL 34952
|Clearwater SSA Office||2340 Drew Street|
Clearwater, FL 33765
|Leesburg SSA Office||900 N 14th Street|
Leesburg, FL 34748
|Deland SSA Office||1629 S Adelle Ave|
Deland, FL 32720
|South Broward SSA Office||12249 Pembroke Rd|
Pembroke Pines, FL 33025
|Perrine SSA Office||11100 SW 211 Street|
Miami, FL 33189
|Hialeah SSA Office||6500 W 21 Court|
Hialeah, FL 33016
|Jacksonville North SSA Office||1685 Dunn Ave|
Jacksonville, FL 32218
|Allapattah SSA Office||1251 NW 36th Street|
Miami, FL 33142
|Bradenton SSA Office||5540 SR 64 East|
Bradenton, FL 34208
|East Hillsborough SSA Office||2027 S Parsons Ave|
Seffner, FL 33584
|Lake Mary SSA Office||Suite 2001|
101 Commerce St
Lake Mary, FL 32746
|Jacksonville South SSA Office||7185 Bonneval Road|
Jacksonville, FL 32256
|Tampa SSA Office||3415 E Frontage Road|
Tampa, FL 33607
|Orlando SSA Office||5520 Gatlin Ave|
Orlando, FL 32812
|Lakeland SSA Office||550 Commerce Dr|
Lakeland, FL 33813
|Tallahassee SSA Office||2002 Old St Augustine|
Tallahassee, FL 32301
|Pensacola SSA Office||411 W Garden Street|
Pensacola, FL 32502
|West Palm Beach SSA Office||801 Clematis Street|
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
|St Petersburg SSA Office||30 Dr Mlk St S|
St Petersburg, FL 33701
|Gainesville SSA Office||4562 NW 13 Street|
Gainesville, FL 32609
|Port Orange SSA Office||4990 S Clyde Morris Blvd|
Port Orange, FL 32127
|Ft Lauderdale East SSA Office||3201 W Commercial Blvd|
Ft Lauderdale, FL 33309
|Sarasota SSA Office||2001 Siesta Dr Suite 301|
Sarasota, FL 34239
|Panama City SSA Office||3215 Hwy 77|
Panama City, FL 32405
|Miami North SSA Office||16900 NW 12 Ave|
Miami, FL 33169
|Fort Myers SSA Office||3650 Colonial Blvd|
First Floor Suite 101
Fort Myers, FL 33966
|Miami Beach SSA Office||1801 Alton Rd|
Miami Beach, FL 33139
|Melbourne SSA Office||1715 W Nasa Blvd|
Melbourne, FL 32901
|Ocala SSA Office||933 E Silver Spgs Blvd|
Ocala, FL 34470
|New Port Richey SSA Office||8661 Citizens Drive|
New Port Richey, FL 34654
|North Broward SSA Office||5195 Coconut Creek Pky|
Margate, FL 33063
|Miami South SSA Office||11401 W Flagler St|
Miami, FL 33174
|St Augustine SSA Office||2428 Old Moultrie Road|
St Augustine, FL 32086
|Carrollwood SSA Office||4010 Gunn Highway|
Tampa, FL 33618
|Pt Charlotte SSA Office||1600 Tamiami Trail|
Port Charlotte, FL 33948
|Venice SSA Office||1435 E Venice Ave #114|
Venice, FL 34292
|Kissimmee SSA Office||1201 E Oak St|
Kissimmee, FL 34744
|Ft Walton Beach SSA Office||111B Racetrack Rd NW|
Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
|Winter Haven SSA Office||1395 NW Havendale Blvd|
Winter Haven, FL 33881
|Belle Glade SSA Office||925 Se 1St Street|
Belle Glade, FL 33430
|Dade City SSA Office||36630 Adair Road|
Dade City, FL 33525
|Sebring SSA Office||3700 Commercial Drive|
Sebring, FL 33870
|Vero Beach SSA Office||724 20Th St|
Vero Beach, FL 32960
|Naples SSA Office||2659 Professional Cir,|
Naples, FL 34119
|Ft Lauderdale W||8501 W Sunrise Blvd|
Plantation, FL 33322
|Marianna SSA Office||4125 Jireh Court|
Marianna, FL 32448
|Little River SSA Office||8345 Biscayne Blvd|
Miami, FL 33138
|South Palm Beach SSA Office||621 NW 53 St|
Boca Raton, FL 33487
|Little Havana SSA Office||1St Floor|
3663 SW 8Th St.
Miami, FL 33135
|Cocoa SSA Office||310 Canaveral Groves|
Cocoa, FL 32926
Florida Hearing and Appeal Offices
Florida is in Region 4 (Atlanta), which services Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
|Region 4 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Florida|
|SSA Hearing Office – Fort Lauderdale||500 East Broward Boulevard|
Suite 1000, 10th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33394
|SSA Hearing Office – Ft. Myers||3650 Colonial Boulevard|
2nd Floor, Suite 210
Ft. Myers, FL 33966
|SSA Hearing Office – Jacksonville||8880 Freedom Crossing Trail|
Building 400, Suite 400
Jacksonville, FL 32256
|SSA Hearing Office – Miami||333 S. Miami Avenue|
One Riverview Square, 8th Floor
Miami, FL 33130
|SSA Hearing Office – Orlando||3505 Lake Lynda Drive|
Glenridge Building, Suite 300
Orlando, FL 32817-8338
|SSA Hearing Office – St. Petersburg||830 Central Avenue|
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
|SSA Hearing Office – Tallahassee||1961 Quail Grove Lane|
Tallahassee, FL 32311
|SSA Hearing Office – Tampa||4925 Independence Parkway|
Fountain Square II, Suite 200
Tampa, FL 33634