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Georgia Disability Benefits: How to Qualify, Apply, and Get Approved

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
August 16, 2022  ·  8 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 have helped over 10,000 Americans apply for disability benefits.

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How long does it take to get disability benefits in Georgia? How much will the program pay? What's considered a disability anyway?

Our short answers: The process can take a few months or several years. The benefits can amount to nine-figures over your lifetime. And many conditions qualify — as long it renders you unable to work for a year or more. 

Still have questions? We still have answers. Read on to learn more about how to apply for disability in Georgia, which benefit programs you should apply for, what conditions qualify, and how to find the right lawyer (if you need one).

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What disability programs are there in Georgia?

Georgia doesn’t have a state-based disability benefits program — but there are some national and private disability options Georgians can qualify for.

1. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI supports Americans who can no longer work due to a medical condition. Generally if you’ve worked for five of the last ten years, you qualify for SSDI (more on that below). The program is run through the Social Security Administration, and the amount you receive depends largely on how much you’ve paid into Social Security on your taxes. 

2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you haven’t worked enough, or worked recently enough, to qualify for SSDI, you may qualify for SSI. It’s another federal program, and you use the same application to apply. SSI is only for individuals with very little income and very few assets, and generally pays out less monthly than SSDI. 

3. Long-Term and short-term private disability insurance: If you (or your employer) purchased disability insurance prior to you becoming disabled—you can file a claim with the private insurer. These pay out a percentage of your former income—but the exact amount and duration of the benefit will depend on the policy.

4. Veterans disability benefits: If you served in the military and suffered an injury that left you unable to work, or you’re retired but have a medical condition as a result of your service, you should apply for disability benefits through Veterans Affairs. You can get VA benefits at the same time as SSDI and SSI. Learn more about how to apply for veterans disability benefits.

For the rest of this article, we’re going to focus on SSDI and SSI. These are the programs most people qualify for in Georgia, and they're generally what people mean when they talk about “applying for disability.”

It’s also frequently necessary to apply for SSDI and SSI when trying to qualify for other programs (like most long-term disability plans). Or, they’re advantageous to apply for in addition to other programs (like VA benefits).

Qualifying for disability in Georgia

What medical conditions qualify you for disability in Georgia?

Some particularly severe or terminal conditions (stage 4 cancer, ALS), may be listed for compassionate allowance. In these cases, you automatically qualify for federal benefits (so long as you meet the work or income requirements). 

Most Americans, however, have a condition that is debilitating, but much less rare or severe. 

Amongst these the most common condition types to qualify in Georgia were:

  • Diseases of the musculo-skeletal system: 31.9%
  • Mental disorders: 28.3%
  • Diseases of the nervous system: 9.7%
  • Diseases of the circulatory system: 9.0%
  • Injuries 3.7%
  • Neoplasms (cancers): 3.1%
  • Endocrine nutritional and metabolic diseases: 2.7%
  • Diseases of the respiratory system: 2.7%
  • Diseases of the Genito-urinary system: 2.5%
  • Unknown: 1.9%
  • Infectious and parasitic diseases: 1.7%
  • Diseases of the digestive system: 1.5%
  • Diseases of the blood and blood forming organs .5%
  • Congenital Abnormalities: 0.4%
  • Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue:  0.3%
  • Other: 0.2%

Within the category of mental disorders, the the most common conditions were:

  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders: 28,361 people
  • Intellectual disorders: 25,517 people
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders: 13,168 people

If your condition isn’t explicitly listed, you could still qualify for benefits. You’ll want to be diligent about gathering your medical records, regularly see a specialist for treatment, and explain on your application how your condition makes it impossible to work. 

Other qualification requirements for SSDI and SSI in Georgia

SSDI qualifications in Georgia

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must:

  • Be under 67 years old.
  • Meet the requirements for “work credits” for your age. You can check your work credits by making an account at SSA.gov — but most people qualify if they’ve worked five out of the last ten years.

Learn more in our full guide to SSDI eligibility.

SSI qualifications in Georgia

To qualify for SSI, you must:

  • Having very little in terms of assets like personal or retirement savings (less than $2,000 or less than $3,000 if you are married).
  • Have very little or no income from any source (generally less than $1,000 per month)

Here's more information on qualifying for SSI.

Get matched with a great disability lawyer in Georgia

How to apply for disability in Georgia

You can apply for disability benefits with the help of a lawyer, or on your own. Most often, you’ll be required to file the application and supplementary documentation on your work history, your day-to-day functioning, and your treatment history. 

How do I submit an application? 

There are three ways to submit an application for disability benefits: 

If you’re not applying with a lawyer, it’s generally helpful to apply at the SSA office. They won’t give you legal advice, but can advise you on how to answer the application questions accurately.

How should I prepare my application in Georgia?

It takes most people hours to submit an application because of the documentation needed. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do to submit an application:

  • Collect your records. This includes medical records, contact information for doctors, work history, education records, bank account information, and other documents you will need to include with your application. 
  • Fill out and submit the application and include supplemental documents and forms. All told, the forms can be more than 30 pages and take hours to complete. When filling out the forms, be extremely clear and specific about your limitations and pain level while remaining realistic. It’s also critical to make sure that you’re consistent with your answers between forms, as they often ask similar questions. 
  • Follow-up with SSA right after you submit. Sometimes applications get lost, and the SSA has a lot of claims to get through. You’ll want to confirm they have received and are processing your application. 
  • Respond to any requests from SSA immediately. They may ask for supplemental information or request that you see a SSA doctor. You will typically have 10 days to submit documentation. 

If you’re working with a lawyer, they should fill out your application for you (the right way), and confirm receipt with the SSA. (If you’d like more advice on how to fill out the initial application, or how you can find the right lawyer — Atticus can help out for free). 

What comes next?

While some people have their application accepted at the initial decision stage — most people (~69.3%) are rejected, and have to file for reconsideration. ~91% of reconsiderations are also rejected, and applicants request a hearing with an administrative law judge. 

At a hearing, more than half of people win benefits — and your odds increase threefold if you work with a lawyer. We wrote at length about what to expect at a hearing and your chances of winning your appeal.

How long does it take to get disability benefits in Georgia? 

The length of time it takes to get benefits can vary. Most applicants will be denied at first, and there will be waits from the SSA between stages of the appeal process. 

In 2022, to receive an initial decision took an average of 6.1 months (184 days).

The time to process reconsideration requests took 6.1 months (183 days) on average.

The time you wait for your hearing date depends on your SSA hearing office. The average wait in Georgia, between requesting a hearing and appearing at one, is anywhere from eight months to 15 months.


Wait time


10 months

Atlanta (North)

15 months


8 months


10 months


10.5 months

Adding these up, if you file your paperwork immediately, it takes 1.74 years to get disability benefits in Georgia. Once you add in the time spent sending in supplementary forms, filing for reconsideration, requesting a hearing, and waiting for the judge’s decision — most applicants will spend around two to two and a half years going from application to approval. 

Sending the SSA your documentation as soon as possible is the only way to speed up this process — so it’s important to meet deadlines, and get forms and medical records their way as fast as possible. Your lawyer can help you stay on track, and will call to confirm the SSA has all the information they need.

How much does disability pay in Georgia?

SSDI payments in Georgia

The average monthly benefit for disabled workers in Georgia was $1,361.26 per month (according to the most recent SSA data). This is slightly more than the nationwide average but well below the maximum possible SSDI benefit of $3,627 in 2023.

It’s easy to learn exactly what you would qualify for by signing up for an SSA.gov account. To check your potential benefit amount, and your SSDI work-history eligibility: 

  • Visit SSA.gov
  • Click “mySocialSecurity”
  • Create an account using your Social Security number
  • Scroll down to the section titled “Disability”

SSI payments in Georgia

The maximum you can receive for SSI nationwide is $914 per month, though the average monthly SSI payment in Georgia is ​​$623.48 per month.

The SSA will subtract any other regular monthly income from this amount. So if you make any additional income — like stocks and investments or part-time work — that will be deducted from your monthly check.

How to find the right disability lawyer in Georgia

When you’re applying, disability lawyers can save you from critical application missteps and save you weeks of paperwork. 

At the hearing stage, they’re critical to have in your corner. They cross examine witnesses from the state and help you make the best possible case before a judge. 

Overall, applicants with a lawyer on their side are three times more likely to win benefits than those without, and 83% of applicants have legal representation at the hearing stage. 

If you’re trying to vet for a disability lawyer on your own, ask these questions before choosing one:

  • Their primary area of practice: Confirm that they only take, or primarily take disability cases — so you know they’ll understand, and prioritize, your case.
  • Reviews: Make sure you really read the content of the reviews. A few bad reviews here and there shouldn’t be cause for alarm — but keep an eye out for patterns. If  you’re reading the same points over and over again, like “never calls me back” or “doesn’t show up at hearing” — this might not be a lawyer you can trust.
  • Location: Having a local lawyer could be good since they can know the local judges, and you yourself can get to know the lawyer personally. If you find a great fit that works nationally — see if they have a history of taking cases in your region.
  • Time practicing: You want to look for lawyers that have been working for a long time as there’s a higher chance of them already working on cases similar to yours. New lawyers can be good too, but they’re harder to vet without a legal background.

It can be challenging to suss out great lawyers from mediocre lawyers without a legal background. If you’d like to be matched with a lawyer who’s a great fit for your claim, Atticus can help (for free).

We’ve spent years vetting disability lawyers and have built a network of legal teams (chosen from the top 5% of firms). We trust them to treat our clients well, and to win their cases. If you want our help evaluating the right disability lawyer for you, sign up here.

Ready to get benefits today?

Frequently Asked Questions about Disability Benefits in Georgia

What qualifies you for disability in Georgia?

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 Georgia?

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 Georgia?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Georgia. 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 21 months on average. Read more: How Long Does it Take to Get Approved for Disability benefits?

How much does disability pay in Georgia?

The average SSDI payment in Georgia is $1,361.26 per month. The average SSI payment is $623.48. 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.

How should I prepare my disability application in Georgia?

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.

Is it easy to get disability in Georgia?

Getting disability benefits in Georgia is a complex, often long process. A few things can make it easier: being over 50, having a particularly severe condition (on the SSA’s “compassionate allowance list”), or working with a disability lawyer. Read more: 5 signs that you’ll be approved for disability benefits.

Social Security Administration offices in Georgia


1522 W 3Rd Ave 

Albany, GA 31707

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

Phone Number: (877) 319-0733

Fax Number: (833) 950-2562


1650 Prince Ave

Athens, GA 30606

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

Phone Number: (866) 964-3294

Fax Number: (833) 950-2566


3800 Camp Creek Pkwy Bldg 2400 Ste 122

Atlanta, GA 30331

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

Phone Number: (877) 828-1694

Fax Number: (833) 913-2075


401 W Peachtree St Nw Ste 2860 Flr 28

Atlanta, GA 30308

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

Phone Number: (866) 931-9946

Fax Number: (833) 950-2558


115 Robert C Daniel Jr Pkwy 

Augusta, GA 30909

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

Phone Number: (877) 616-2523

Fax Number: (833) 950-2570


134 Juniper Ct

Brunswick, GA 31520

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

Phone Number: (866) 964-6563

Fax Number: (833) 950-2866


7263 North Lake Dr

Columbus, GA 31909

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

Phone Number: (877) 784-3688

Fax Number: (833) 950-2568


510 E 15Th Ave 

Cordele, GA 31015

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

Phone Number: (888) 225-8869

Fax Number: (833) 597-0062


9180 Covington By Pass Rd

Covington, GA 30014

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

Phone Number: (877) 873-9106

Fax Number: (833) 597-0072


301 Point North Pl 

Dalton, GA 30720

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

Phone Number: (866) 593-5681

Fax Number: (833) 950-3159


3554 Covington Hwy 

Decatur, GA 30032

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

Phone Number: (877) 626-9909

Fax Number: (833) 950-3165


919 Hillcrest Pkwy 

Dublin, GA 31021

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

Phone Number: (888) 655-6438

Fax Number: (833) 950-2868


2565 Thompson Brdg Rd Ste 210

Gainesville, GA 30501

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

Phone Number: (866) 331-2309

Fax Number: (833) 950-2862


1548 Flynt St

Griffin, GA 30223

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

Phone Number: (866) 964-1005

Fax Number: (833) 950-2870


200 Chastain Center Blvd Ste 250

Kennesaw, GA 30144

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

Phone Number: (866) 964-4690

Fax Number: (833) 950-3161


1300 Lafayette Pkwy Ste A

Lagrange, GA 30241

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

Phone Number: (866) 836-6744

Fax Number: (833) 950-2854


3530 Riverside Dr

Macon, GA 31210

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

Phone Number: (888) 759-3917

Fax Number: (833) 950-2564


109 Cypress Corners 

Milledgeville, GA 31061

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

Phone Number: (866) 348-5817

Fax Number: (833) 950-2858


6665 Park Place

Morrow, GA 30260

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

Phone Number: (866) 331-2215

Fax Number: (833) 950-3157


246 Bullsboro Dr Ste B

Newnan, GA 30263

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

Phone Number: (855) 863-3561

Fax Number: (833) 905-2050


4365 Shackleford Rd 

Norcross, GA 30093

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

Phone Number: (877) 803-6320

Fax Number: (833) 950-3163


480 Riverside Pkwy Ne 

Rome, GA 30161

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

Phone Number: (866) 964-1006

Fax Number: (833) 950-2856


325 W Montgomery Xrd Ste C

Savannah, GA 31406

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

Phone Number: (866) 366-4923

Fax Number: (833) 950-2560


1050 Brannen St

Statesboro, GA 30461

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

Phone Number: (866) 748-2088

Fax Number: (833) 950-2520


1916 Smith Ave 

Thomasville, GA 31792

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

Phone Number: (888) 491-1886

Fax Number: (833) 950-2860


732 2Nd St W

Tifton, GA 31794

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

Phone Number: (877) 635-3542

Fax Number: (833) 597-0070


155 Big A Rd 

Toccoa, GA 30577

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

Phone Number: (877) 405-7655

Fax Number: (833) 950-3455


3149 Perimeter Park Ln 

Valdosta, GA 31602

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

Phone Number: (866) 829-2617

Fax Number: (833) 950-2864


104 W Third St 

Vidalia, GA 30474

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

Phone Number: (866) 931-2518

Fax Number: (833) 902-2710

Villa Rica

908 S Carroll Rd 

Villa Rica, GA 30180

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

Phone Number: (866) 331-2318

Fax Number: (833) 950-3459

Warner Robins

220 Carl Vinson Pkwy 

Warner Robins, GA 31088

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

Phone Number: (866) 931-7084

Fax Number: (833) 597-0064


303 Isabella St 

Waycross, GA 31501

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

Phone Number: (877) 405-3578

Fax Number: (833) 950-2852


389 East Brd St 

Winder, GA 30680

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

Phone Number: (866) 331-9071

Fax Number: (833) 950-3765

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.
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