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Wisconsin Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can help eligible disabled residents of Wisconsin cover housing, food, and transportation costs.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can help eligible disabled residents of Wisconsin cover housing, food, and transportation costs.

Wisconsin residents with a permanent disability necessitating long-term care, a developmental disability, or a mental illness can all benefit from Social Security Disability Benefits.

Facts About Wisconsin

Around one out of every five adults in America’s Dairyland has an SSA-approved disability, which is less than the national average of one out of every four. Mobility and cognition are the most common disability types, followed by independent living, vision, hearing, and self care.

Roughly 34% of the state’s healthcare costs go towards disabilities, equating to approximately $16 billion annually. Disabled individuals have a high threshold of expenses that are difficult to meet (housing, transportation, food) because of their difficulty retaining employment in the face of their disability.

How To Qualify for SSDI in Wisconsin

To qualify for SSDI benefits in the Badger State, you need to show the SSA that you have a disability as defined by the SSA, which has a Blue Book of hundreds of approved disabilities.

Medical records, hospital bills, and other forms of documentation should be included with your initial application to prove you are eligible for Social Security Disability. There is a list of Compassionate Allowances for diseases such as fast-moving cancers that can fast track an application, and assistive technology helps the SSA quickly identify which applications refer to such conditions.

Normally, an SSDI application might take 3-5 months to get a decision. Even if you don’t have a specific disability, you can demonstrate that you have a low Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) from conditions such as chronic back pain or difficulty concentrating. If this RFC prevents you from retaining gainful employment, you can also qualify for SSDI benefits.

An SSDI applicant must also show non-medical eligibility, or that they have the requisite number of 40 work credits. As of 2021, $1,470 in earnings through employment or self-employment equates to one work credit, and half of the required credits must have been earned in the past decade.

The work credit system is the Social Security Administration’s way of gauging whether or not you paid enough Social Security taxes (also called FICA taxes) to merit collecting SSDI. If you are younger, you may need fewer SSDI work credits.

Even after getting approved for the monetary assistance afforded by SSDI, SSDI recipients will need to undergo a periodic Continuing Disability Review (CDR) every three years – seven years for SSDI recipients whose condition is not expected to improve.

Fortunately, once someone collecting SSDI benefits has shown they have the requisite number of credits to collect SSDI, this periodic review will not involve checking their non-medical eligibility, since SSDI is offered under the assumption that they cannot work, anyway.

How To Apply for SSDI in Wisconsin

The easiest way to apply for SSDi is online at SSA.gov. You can call 1-800-492-4283 and start applying for SSDI over the phone. You can also apply in person, whether you live in Eau Claire, Madison, or Milwaukee, at one of the two dozen SSA field offices.

If you are not computer savvy or your disability prevents you from using a computer effectively, the SSA will be able to assist you with your application.

How To Appeal a Denial in Wisconsin

Around 66% of SSDI applications are denied with the initial application in Wisconsin, which is lower than the national average of 70%. If your SSDI application is not approved by the Disability Determination Service, you can request a reconsideration and furnish more evidence for your disability examiner.

If reconsideration doesn’t work, you can go before an Administrative Law Judge to present your case. The ALJ will either make a decision or return it to a different disability examiner.

The next step is to present your case before the Appeals Committee, and after that (if needed) there is the U.S. Federal Court system. However, it is unlikely your disability adjudication would go that far.

If you are working with an SSDI lawyer, you may be advised on some other options such as workers’ compensation. It’s good to meet with a Wisconsin SSDI lawyer at the outset of your application or as soon as you are no longer able to work due to a disability.

An SSDI lawyer is also relatively inexpensive since the maximum amount they can charge for their help is 25% of your SSDI back pay or $6,000 – whichever amount is lower. You typically don’t have to pay lawyer fees if your case is denied.

More Wisconsin Benefits


The SSA will also see if you can collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on top of your SSDI payments. With SSI, in addition to potentially giving you $700 or more in additional income, you will get Medicaid to bridge the healthcare coverage gap until Medicare kicks in after two years of SSDI.

SSI is available to low-income residents who are either blind, disabled, or over 65. Eligible recipients must have less than $2,000 ($3,000 for couples) in financial resources.

Wisconsin Medicaid

Wisconsin Medicaid is available to low-income individuals who are pregnant, have dependents under 18, have a disabled individual in the home, are disabled themselves, blind, or over the age of 65. Older adults can also take advantage of Medicare, a health insurance system with multiple parts (A, B, C, and D).

Wisconsin Unemployment

For Wisconsin residents out of work, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) provides Wisconsin unemployment benefits. These weekly payments help individuals who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Wisconsin Social Security Offices

SSA Field Office Locations in Wisconsin
Portage Office2875 Village Rd
Suite 100
Portage, WI 53901
(888) 875-1681
Milw North Office6300 W Fond Du Lac Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53218
(888) 823-4323
Madison Office6011 Odana Rd
Madison, WI 53719
(866) 770-2262
Green Bay Office1561 Dousman St.
Green Bay, WI 54303
(888) 862-4811
Fond Du Lac Office180 Knights Way
Suite 100
Fond Du Lac, WI 54935
(888) 717-1526
Eau Claire Office4120 Oakwood Hills Pky
Eau Claire, WI 54701
(866) 815-2924
Racine Office4020 Durand Ave
Racine, WI 53405
(866) 270-8629
La Crosse Office210 7Th St S
Ste 100
La Crosse, WI 54601
(866) 770-2345
Wausau Office352 Grand Ave
Wausau, WI 54403
(855) 269-9186
Sheboygan Office1137 N 26Th St
Sheboygan, WI 53081
(877) 635-3549
Superior Office4221 Tower Ave
Superior, WI 54880
(877) 628-6578
Oshkosh Office400 City Center Ste B
Oshkosh, WI 54901
(877) 445-0834
Janesville Office222 N Academy St
Janesville, WI 53548
(877) 850-7826
Kenosha Office5624 6Th Ave
Kenosha, WI 53140
(866) 334-4997
Milw DT Office310 W Wisconsin Ave
Suite 260
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(866) 467-9626
Appleton Office607 W Northland Ave
Appleton, WI 54911
(877) 694-5495
Waukesha Office707 N Grand Avenue
First Floor
Waukesha, WI 53186
(866) 220-7885
Wisconsin Rapids Office2213 8Th St South
Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494
(855) 686-1465
Lancaster Office175 W Alona Ln
Lancaster, WI 53813
(877) 405-7841
Marinette Office2023 Lake Park Dr
Marinette, WI 54143
(888) 329-5722
Manitowoc Office1603 Mirro Dr
Manitowoc, WI 54220
(877) 409-8430
Rhinelander Office2023 Navajo St
Rhinelander, WI 54501
(888) 868-8185
Rice Lake Office1703 W Knapp Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868
(888) 823-3923
West Bend Office1145 Vern Street
West Bend, WI 53090
(888) 655-0843
Milw-West Office5020 W North Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53208
(866) 716-8594
Greenfield Office8455 W Layton Ave
Greenfield, WI 53228
(877) 600-2856

Wisconsin Hearing and Appeal Offices

Wisconsin is in Region 5 (Chicago), which services Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. 

Region 5 – SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Wisconsin
SSA Hearing Office – Madison2501 W. Beltline Highway
3rd Floor
Madison, WI 53713
(877) 600-2854
SSA Hearing Office – Milwaukee310 West Wisconsin Avenue
Room 300W
Milwaukee, WI 53203
(866) 495-0039

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