Atticus offers free, high-quality disability advice for Americans who can't work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.
There are more than 135,000 Mississippi residents who received disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2022. Each of them has navigated the application process you now face — proof that you can do it too.
This guide will explain what you need to know about qualifying for benefits in Mississippi, the application process, and determining the potential benefits you may receive.
There is no state-run disability program in Mississippi. That said, state residents can either apply for benefits through the federal government or purchase a plan from a private insurance company. Mississippians may be eligible for any of these four programs:
Most Mississippians with a disability will qualify for SSDI or SSI. This guide will now focus on helping you apply for either of those programs. Learn about other programs in our breakdown of disability benefit types.
SSDI and SSI benefits recipients must meet the SSA’s strict medical and technical requirements. The programs share medical criteria, but their technical criteria differ.
Before you can medically qualify for SSDI or SSI, you have to prove that your disability or medical condition makes it impossible for you to work. Your doctor must also confirm that they expect your condition to last for at least one more year — if not for the rest of your life. You can more quickly qualify for benefits if you have a terminal condition on the SSA’s compassionate allowance list.
It is easier after age 50 to qualify for disability because you only have to prove that you can’t continue doing the types of jobs you’ve done in the past. It’s harder to qualify under age 50 because you have to prove to the SSA that you can’t do any kind of work, even work that would require you to retrain.
To qualify for SSDI, you must meet two basic criteria:
Learn more about eligibility rules for SSDI.
To qualify for SSI, you must:
Learn more about SSI technical eligibility rules.
Many conditions can qualify for disability. The SSA may award disability benefits as long as someone’s condition makes it impossible for them to work and will continue to do so for at least a year.
According to SSA data, these are the most common conditions among Mississippi residents who receive disability benefits:
For the Mississippians with mental health conditions, these are the most common:
For more help, start with this Atticus guide to qualifying for disability with a mental health condition.
The process starts with the main SSDI and SSI application form. Once that’s complete, you’ll need to fill out at least a work history report and a function report. The work history report describes your work experience, while the function report explains how your condition impacts your day-to-day activities.
You can apply on your own, or you can make the process easier by working with a disability lawyer. We also offer resources for anyone applying for disability on behalf of a child or another loved one.
The application is long, even once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials. Set aside at least one to two hours to complete the initial application forms. Your lawyer can handle much of the process, but there are a few key tasks you can help with:
For more help, here’s our step-by-step guide to starting the disability application.
You can submit your application to the SSA in the following three ways:
If you choose not to work with a lawyer, consider applying in person. The SSA office staff can explain what the application questions are asking. That said, only a lawyer can give you personalized advice, like how to make your responses stronger or which details to include or exclude.
Read more about the ways a lawyer can help your application.
If you decide you want help with the application, consider working with a disability lawyer. A lawyer is the best option because they can strengthen your responses, fill out the application for you, and follow up with the SSA. Lawyers can simplify the process for you and applicants with lawyers are more likely to win benefits.
Atticus is a law firm, so we can provide free legal advice on filling out your application and finding the right lawyer for your case. Fill out our 2-minute disability quiz to get started.
After you apply, the SSA will process and review your application. They’ll verify that you meet all technical requirements, then they’ll send your application to Disability Determination Services (DDS). At DDS, they’ll confirm that you’re medically eligible, which can require a quick consultative exam with an SSA doctor to confirm your health information. The SSA will then make a decision on your application. This may sound quick, but the process takes six months, on average.
Getting approved for disability is challenging, and your odds aren’t always good. Understanding that can help you navigate the many stages of denial and appeal most applicants go through.
The SSA rejects about 70% of first-time applicants. If rejected, applicants can file for reconsideration. Even then, the SSA rejects another 90% of applications. You can request a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ) to appeal the decision.
A hearing may sound daunting, but it actually comes with the highest odds of approval of the entire process. More than 50% of the applicants who appeared in front of an ALJ in 2022 won their claim. Applicants who work with a lawyer are also three times more likely to get benefits.
Learn more about the odds of winning a disability appeal.
Considering the multiple rounds of appeal that most applicants go through, applicants in Mississippi typically wait just over two years — 27 months — from the time they apply until the time they’re approved. This is similar to the average national wait, which is just over two years in March 2023.
Here how the wait breaks down, based on the average wait for each application stage:
Your wait time also varies depending on the hearing office that handles your claim. You can see the average time to get a hearing at the three Mississippi hearing offices below.
Wait time for a hearing
Unfortunately, you can’t speed up the process. That said, you can avoid delays. Submit your application as soon as you can and quickly respond to any SSA requests to prevent slowdowns. Your lawyer can also move the process forward by following up with the SSA and handling your appeals.
The wait is long but if you do get approved, you’ll be compensated for it. Your first check will include back pay benefits for the months or even years of payments you missed while waiting for the SSA’s decision.
Further reading: How to Find a Good Disability Lawyer Near You
Disability benefits vary based on several factors. Namely, your benefit amount depends on whether you receive SSDI or SSI (or if you receive benefits from both programs at the same time).
In 2023, the maximum possible SSDI payment is $3,627 per month. In Mississippi, though, disability recipients receive an average of $1,297.66 monthly.
Your payment amount is based on your personal income and how much you’ve paid into Social Security. Where you live and your specific medical condition won’t impact your SSDI check.
To find out how much your benefits will be, use your SSA.gov account:
Read more about how the SSA calculates your disability check.
The maximum monthly payment in 2023 for SSI is $914. That said, Mississippians receive an average of $586.09 per month.
Your benefit amount will depend on your monthly income. To determine your monthly payment, the SSA will subtract the money you have coming in each month from the monthly maximum. Your SSA checks would be $914 if you have no other income.
Have more questions? Here’s what counts as income for SSI.
Applying for SSDI and SSI isn’t easy. Getting help from a disability lawyer can take a lot of the stress off your shoulders. Your lawyer can follow up with the SSA, manage your appeals, and represent you in front of a judge, all of which can make the process much more manageable. For all these reasons, applicants who work with a lawyer are more likely to get approved.
Consider the following factors as you search for a disability lawyer in Mississippi:
Finding the right representation is challenging, but Atticus can help you find an experienced lawyer who will give you attention and respect you deserve. Start with our free disability quiz to get matched. You’ll still get to choose whether to work with one of our lawyers, and you won’t pay anything until after you win benefits.
To qualify for disability you need to have a condition that prevents you from working for at least a year. You’ll also need to meet certain work history requirements (for SSDI) or be within certain income limits (for SSI). For more on these requirements, read our full write up here.
Any condition that will prevent you from working for a year or more can qualify for disability benefits. Some of the most common conditions include musculoskeletal disorders, mental disorders, nervous system diseases, and circulatory system diseases. See our full list of conditions that qualify here.
It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Mississippi. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes around two years on average. Read more: How Long It Takes to Get Approved for Disability Benefits
The average SSDI payment in Mississippi is $1,297.66 per month. The average SSI payment is $586.09 per month. What you’ll earn depends on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.
Answer the application questions truthfully, consistently, and succinctly. You should also ensure that you gather and submit all your medical records with your application. The SSA paperwork can be complicated, so our legal team has written a full guide to the application here.
No, Mississippi doesn’t have a state disability program. Only five states (California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island) have a state program. Residents of Mississippi can apply for federal disability programs through SSDI and SSI. Read more about SSDI and SSI here.
How long has your condition made it hard to work?
At the bottom of many websites, you'll find a small disclaimer: "We are not a law firm and are not qualified to give legal advice." If you see this, run the other way. These people can't help you: they're prohibited by law from giving meaningful advice, recommending specific lawyers, or even telling you whether you need a lawyer at all.
There’s no disclaimer here: Atticus is a law firm, and we are qualified to give legal advice. We can answer your most pressing questions, make clear recommendations, and search far and wide to find the right lawyer for you.
Two important things to note: If we give you legal advice, it will be through a lawyer on our staff communicating with you directly. (Don't make important decisions about your case based solely on this or any other website.) And if we take you on as a client, it will be through a document you sign. (No attorney-client relationship arises from using this site or calling us.)
Terms | Privacy | Disclaimer