When an injury or occupational illness have left you unable to work, you can apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits to cover your living expenses. If you are residing in Florida at the time you become disabled, you can file your disability claim at one of the field offices in the state.
Although SSD is a federal program, applications are processed by state agencies. Your local Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) office will make a determination on your claim once the field office you dealt with has reviewed it first.
Where Can You File for SSD Benefits in Florida?
For claims administration purposes, the SSA divides the U.S. into 10 different sections, each one managed by a regional office. Florida is in Region 4, along with Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
The regional office for Florida disability claims is in Atlanta, Georgia, while the state itself has 57 field offices to directly serve Florida claimants.
To file a disability in Florida, contact your closest field office, which will send your claim to one of the six Disability Determination Services (DDS) offices in the state. This office will make a final decision on your disability application, so any questions or concerns about the final outcome should be addressed to that location.
Florida Disability Statistics
If you intend to make a Florida disability claim, the information below will give you a general idea of what you can expect in terms of application processing time, wearing wait time, and more. This information covers the 09/26/2020 through 10/30/2020 period.
- Fort Lauderdale: 286
- Fort Myers: 270
- Jacksonville: 354
- Miami: 295
- Orlando: 281
- St. Petersburg: 312
- Tallahassee: 278
- Tampa: 323
Average Processing Time (in days)
Average Wait Time for Hearing (in months)
- Fort Lauderdale: 8
- Fort Myers: 8
- Jacksonville: 10
- Miami: 8
- Orlando: 8
- St. Petersburg: 10
- Tallahassee: 8
- Tampa: 9
Hearings Held In-Person or Via Video
- Fort Lauderdale: In Person (483) Video (15) Total: 498
- Fort Myers: In Person (250) Video (0) Total: 250
- Jacksonville: In Person (494) Video (0) Total: 494
- Miami: In Person (293) Video (24) Total: 317
- Orlando: In Person (512) Video (7) Total: 519
- St. Petersburg: In Person (261) Video (0) Total: 261
- Tallahassee: In Person (309) Video (0) Total: 309
- Tampa: In Person (634) Video (0) Total: 634
ODAR Office Approval Ratings
(Indicates percentage of claims approved)
- Fort Lauderdale: 41%
- Fort Myers: 52%
- Jacksonville: 49%
- Miami: 51%
- Orlando: 51%
- St. Petersburg: 56%
- Tallahassee: 54%
- Tampa: 56%
Appealing Denied Social Security Disability Benefits in Florida
On average, approximately 73% of disability claims are denied in Florida, which puts Florida below the national approval average of 35%.
At the reconsideration level, over 91% of claims are denied, which is also a lower approval rate than the national average of 13%. Things tend to improve at the administrative hearing level, where approximately 51% of cases are denied. This means that 49% are approved, which is higher than the national average of 45%.
Common reasons for denial include:
- Missing documents
- Application errors
- Applicant income miscalculation.
If your application is denied, you have up to 60 days to appeal a denied disability claim in Florida. Be sure to file your appeal before the deadline is up, as you could otherwise lose your right to pursue the disability benefits that you need. Once you file, the average wait time for a hearing in Florida is 22 months.
With Florida presenting challenges for disability claimants in terms of acceptance rate, you may want to contact an SSD lawyer who can help you prepare your application, collect necessary medical documentation, and make the strongest possible case for your need for benefits.
When you are unable to work and need the disability payments to make ends meet, legal counsel gives you the best chance of success.
Help Filing for Disability Benefits in Florida
Are you preparing to file a disability claim in Florida? Have you already filed a claim and been unfairly denied? A Florida disability benefits lawyer will ensure that your application includes all of the documents and medical information that the SSA needs to determine whether you qualify for benefits.
If you need to appeal a denial, your SSD attorney can represent you during any hearings and present a compelling case for the benefits you need. To learn more about how a lawyer can support your goal of being approved for benefits, get a free case evaluation today.