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Florida disability benefits

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Florida

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
April 23, 2024  ·  2 min read
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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 has helped over 50,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

See if you qualify

If you're a Florida resident unable to work due to an injury or illness, you might qualify for disability benefits. Federal disability programs provide financial support and healthcare coverage. Currently, more than 570,000 Floridians benefit from Social Security disability assistance. 

Read on for an overview of t the eligibility requirements and application process for disability benefits in Florida.

Disability benefits in Florida

Florida does not have a short-term state disability program, but Florida residents who cannot work due to a disability may qualify for federal disability. The Social Security Administration manages two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs provide monthly benefits, but the eligibility requirements and benefit amounts are different.

SSDI vs. SSI: What’s the difference?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is for individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security system through payroll taxes. Typically, to qualify for SSDI, a person must have worked at least five of the last 10 years and earned a certain number of “work credits.” 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), on the other hand, is designed to help disabled individuals with limited income and assets. SSI eligibility is not based on prior work history but on financial need. The program provides a monthly payment that can vary if the state supplements the federal payment. SSI aids individuals who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled and have limited or no income and resources.

We've helped 10,914 people in Florida apply for benefits.

How to apply for Social Security disability in Florida

Applying for Social Security disability benefits in Florida starts with completing the initial application, Form SSA-16. You can complete the application online, by phone, or at your local Social Security office.

You'll need to gather and submit all required documentation, which includes proof of your identity, medical records, and any other evidence that supports your disability claim.

Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Prepare your information: Collect all necessary personal information, medical documents, and details about your work history. This includes your Social Security number, birth certificate, detailed medical records, and information about other benefits you receive, like workers' compensation or unemployment. 

  2. Submit your application: You can apply online at the Social Security Administration's official website, call their toll-free number, or visit a local SSA office. Applying online is a great way for you to submit and track the process of your claim. 

  3. Wait for the decision: After submitting your application, the SSA will review your technical and medical eligibility. It can take 7-8 months to receive a decision on your initial application. 

If your application is initially denied, which is common, you have the right to appeal the decision. This is where understanding the appeals process becomes essential.

4 stages of the appeal process

There are four stages of appeal, but most applicants only go through two. For a successful application, it’s important to understand the rules and timelines for the appeals process: 

  1. Reconsideration: If your initial application is denied, you can request a reconsideration within 60 days. This entails a complete review of your claim by a different adjudicator not involved in the original decision. Know that it's common for claims to be denied again at this stage.

  2. Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): If reconsideration does not result in approval, the next step is to request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.A disability lawyer can help you prepare for the judge’s questions and represent you at the hearing. 

  3. Appeals Council Review: If the ALJ denies your claim, you can escalate the matter to the Social Security Appeals Council. This body will review your case to determine if the law was applied correctly. The council can either decide your case, return it to an ALJ for further review, or deny your request for a review if it believes the hearing decision was correct based on the evidence.

  4. Federal Court Review: The final stage involves taking your case to a federal district court. This step is undertaken if all previous appeals have been exhausted and you still believe the decision was incorrect. Filing a lawsuit in federal court is complex and typically requires an attorney's expertise.

How much are disability benefits in Florida?

In Florida, the payment amount of disability benefits you can receive varies based on the program—SSDI or SSI—and your individual circumstances. SSDI and SSI payments are adjusted annually based on cost-of-living increases. 

  • For SSDI, the maximum monthly benefit is $3,822. However, the average monthly benefit most recipients receive is about $1,717. Your exact payment amount depends on your earnings record and the amount of Social Security taxes you've paid.

  • For SSI, the maximum federal benefit rate for individuals is $943 per month. SSI recipients can also receive additional supplemental state benefits depending on their living arrangements.

Estimate your disability benefit amount in just a few steps

We'll use the Social Security Administration's formula to estimate your monthly benefit.

monthly check


SSA offices in Florida

From Boca Raton to Fort Myers, Jacksonville to Miami, there are 52 SSA offices throughout Florida. Visit your nearest SSA field office to get a copy of the disability application form or apply in person:

Belle Glade

925 Se 1st St 

Belle Glade, FL 33430

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (855) 257-0983

Fax Number: (833) 950-2814

Boca Raton

621 Nw 53 St Ste 400

Boca Raton, FL 33487

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 467-1703

Fax Number: (833) 950-3757


5540 Sr 64 East Ste 100

Bradenton, FL 34208

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (877) 803-6316

Fax Number: (833) 950-2227


2340 Drew St 

Clearwater, FL 33765

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 397-5325

Fax Number: (833) 950-2204


310 Canaveral Groves 

Cocoa, FL 32926

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-0798

Fax Number: (833) 902-2712

Dade City

36630 Adair Rd 

Dade City, FL 33525

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 562-1325

Fax Number: (833) 950-2816


1629 S Adelle Ave 

Deland, FL 32720

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (866) 964-7396

Fax Number: (833) 950-2208

Fort Myers

Suite 25 4220 Executive Circle

Fort Myers, FL 33916

Hours: Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 4:00PM

Phone Number: (888) 318-9114

Fax Number: (833) 795-0128

Click here to see all of the SSA offices in Florida.

Do I need a disability lawyer in Florida?

While hiring a disability lawyer is not mandatory for applying for disability benefits in Florida, or any state for that matter, having legal representation can help you win benefits. A disability attorney can guide you through the complexities of the application process and increase your chances of approval by three times.

Consider the following benefits:

  • Expert guidance on paperwork: The disability application involves lots of detailed paperwork. An experienced lawyer can help ensure all documents are correctly filled out and submitted on time, reducing the likelihood of errors that could delay or negatively impact your claim.

  • Effective communication with SSA: A disability lawyer will manage all interactions with the Social Security Administration for you. This includes handling inquiries, responding to requests for additional information, and ensuring all communications are clear, complete, and timely.

  • Higher probability of approval: Statistics show that disability claims represented by a lawyer have a higher success rate than those filed by individuals on their own. Legal representation can be particularly crucial during appeals if your initial claim is denied.

  • Advocacy for your rights: Throughout the application and appeals process, a disability lawyer will advocate on your behalf. They will defend your rights and work to secure the benefits you are entitled to based on your medical condition and work history.

Match with a trusted disability lawyer in Florida

Get help with your disability application in Florida

If you're considering applying for disability benefits, take our 2-minute quiz to see if you might qualify. Call today to speak with an Atticus client advocate, who can offer free advice about your options. Atticus can also introduce you to a disability lawyer if you'd like. There are no upfront costs, and you only pay your lawyer a one-time fee when they win you benefits.

Related resources:

Disability in Florida: What You Should Know About Applying for Benefits

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

SSA Office Addresses and Phone Numbers in Florida

A hand drawn image of the lead disability lawyer.
By Jackie Jakab

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Florida

How do I qualify for disability in Florida?

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.

What conditions qualify for disability in Florida?

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.

How long does it take to get approved for disability in Florida?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Florida. 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

How much does disability pay in Florida?

The average SSDI payment in Florida is $1,391.59 per month. The average SSI payment is $629.58 per month. What you’ll earn is dependent on your income, or the amount you’ve historically paid into the Social Security program. Read more on what amount you can expect.

How should I prepare my disability application in Florida?

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.

Does Florida have a state disability program?

No, Florida 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 Florida can apply for federal disability programs (SSDI and SSI). Read more about SSDI and SSI here.

Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney

Jackie Jakab

Lead Attorney

Jackie Jakab is Atticus’s Legal Director. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, and has counseled thousands of people seeking disability benefits.
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