• Resources
  •   >  Florida disability benefits
Florida disability benefits

How to Qualify for Disability Benefits in Florida

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 6, 2024  ·  2 min read
Why trust us?

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.

See if you qualify

In Florida, if you’re unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities, you might be eligible for support. The Social Security Administration (SSA) manages federal disability programs that are designed to help individuals with significant or long-term disabilities. 

Specifically, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offer financial assistance and healthcare benefits. This guide will walk you through the eligibility requirements for these programs.


How to qualify for disability benefits in Florida

To qualify for disability benefits in Florida, you must go through an evaluation process the Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees. The SSA's evaluation for eligibility involves a five-step process:

  1. Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA): You must demonstrate that you are not engaged in SGA. The SSA defines this as earning more than a specified monthly amount. For 2024, this threshold is set at $1,550 for non-blind individuals.

  2. Severity of impairment: The impairment must be severe enough to significantly limit your ability to perform basic work activities, and you expect it to last at least 12 months.

  3. Listed conditions: The impairment should meet or equal a medical condition listed in the SSA's Blue Book. If the condition is not listed, you have to provide sufficient medical evidence to demonstrate that the impairment is as severe as a medical condition that is listed.

  4. Past work: The SSA will consider whether you can perform any of your past relevant work despite your impairment.

  5. Adjusted work: The SSA assesses whether there are any other jobs you could do, considering your medical conditions, age, education, past work experience, and transferable skills.

How to qualify for SSDI in Florida

For Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) in Florida, your eligibility is contingent on the following:

  • Disability: You must meet the federal definition of disability.

  • Work credits: SSDI requires a certain number of work credits, which you earned through your previous work history at jobs where you paid Social Security taxes. The SSA requires 40 credits, 20 of which you must have earned in the last 10 years, ending with the year your disability began. Younger workers may qualify with fewer credits.

  • Recent work test: You must meet the SSA’s recent work test, factoring in your age at the onset of the disability. For example, if you were disabled before age 24, you need at least 1.5 years of work history in the three-year period ending with the quarter in which your disability began.

How to qualify for SSI in Florida

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on financial need and does not require work credits. The eligibility criteria for SSI include:

  • Disability or age: You must be disabled, blind, or age 65 or older.

  • Few assets: You must have less than $2,000 in countable resources ($3,000 for couples).

  • Limited income: You must earn an income of less than $943 per month.

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

What conditions qualify for disability in Florida?

In Florida, the SSA determines eligibility for Social Security disability benefits by considering the impact of a condition on your ability to perform work rather than merely the presence of a specific disease or disorder. 

The SSA utilizes the SSA Blue Book to identify medical conditions that are severe enough to potentially qualify someone for disability benefits. This Blue Book categorizes impairments that can affect an individual’s functional capacity and ability to engage in SGA.

The importance of medical evidence:

Having a condition listed in the SSA Blue Book does not automatically ensure you will qualify for disability benefits. The severity of your condition and how it restricts your capacity to work is of greater importance. The SSA conducts a thorough evaluation of medical evidence to determine the impact of the condition on your life and ability to maintain employment.

Evaluating non-listed conditions:

When the Blue Book doesn’t mention a specific condition, the SSA assesses what it calls the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This assessment helps the SSA determine whether you can perform any work considering your limitations.

Most common conditions in Florida

According to the latest data from the SSA, the most frequently approved conditions for disability benefits in Florida are:

  • Mental disorders: 29.6%

  • Musculoskeletal system disorders: 32.3%

  • Nervous system and sense organs disorders: 10.3%

  • Circulatory system disorders: 7.4%

The SSA evaluates each of these conditions based on how it impairs an individual's ability to perform work activities. The SSA's detailed scrutiny of medical documentation and the RFC assessment are critical in determining your eligibility for benefits.


SSA offices in Florida

Visiting a Social Security Administration (SSA) field office in person can be particularly beneficial if you’re seeking disability benefits in Florida. Personal visits allow you to receive one-on-one assistance from experienced SSA representatives who can provide guidance. If you’re unfamiliar with or unsure about the online submission process, in-person visits can help you complete your paperwork and submit it correctly.

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

Bradenton

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

Clearwater

2340 Drew St 

Clearwater, FL 33765

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

Phone Number: (888) 397-5325

Fax Number: (833) 950-2204

Cocoa

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

Deland

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 it is not required to hire a disability lawyer to apply for disability benefits in Florida, or any state for that matter, having legal representation can improve your application process and increase your chances of approval by three times.

Benefits of working with a disability lawyer

Consider the following advantages of working with a disability lawyer on your application. 

  • Detailed assistance with documentation: Applying for disability benefits involves extensive documentation. A knowledgeable lawyer will ensure you’ve accurately completed and submitted all the forms within the deadlines. This reduces the risk of errors that might otherwise delay or jeopardize your application.

  • Direct communication with the SSA: Your lawyer will handle all communications with the SSA, addressing any inquiries and supplying additional information as necessary. This ensures all your interactions with the SSA are timely and effective.

  • Increased chance of approval: Data indicates that disability claims with lawyer representation have higher approval rates than claims individuals file independently. The expertise of a lawyer can be especially crucial if the SSA denies your initial application and you need to appeal the decision.

  • Representation and advocacy: Throughout the application process, and potentially during an appeals process, a disability lawyer advocates for your rights. They aim to secure the benefits that will align with your medical condition, previous work contributions, and needs, safeguarding your interests throughout.

Match with a trusted disability lawyer in Florida

Get help applying for benefits in Florida

A disability lawyer can help you navigate every step of the process, from application to approval. Take our 2-minute disability quiz to see if you qualify, and reach out to our team of client advocates for free advice on your options.

If you’d like, we can introduce you to a disability lawyer to help you with your disability application. There are no upfront costs to working with Atticus—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.

See what you qualify for

How long has your condition made it hard to work?

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.
About Us
  • Mission
  • Careers

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.)

  • This website is lawyer advertising.
  • Cal. Bar #23984
  • © 2024 Atticus Law, P.C.

Terms | Privacy | California Privacy | Disclaimer