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Disability in Kansas: How to Qualify, Apply, and Win Benefits

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
December 16, 2022  ·  6 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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Nearly 67,000 people in Kansas receive Social Security disability benefits, which include monthly payments and access to free healthcare. Getting approved for disability is often harder than people anticipate, but it isn’t impossible. To help set you up for success, this guide will take you through what programs are available in Kansas, how to qualify, and how much your payments may be worth.


Federal, private, and state disability programs 

Only five states in the U.S. have a statewide disability program and unfortunately Kansas isn’t one of them. However, Kansas residents can still apply and qualify for other private and federal programs.

Here are the programs that people with disabilities qualify for most often:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): SSDI helps people who have worked for years but must stop due to a mental or physical health condition. It’s a federal program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • Supplementary Security Income (SSI): SSI is also a federal program — it even uses the same application as SSDI. However, SSI is geared toward people that don’t have a long or recent work history and those with limited income and assets.
  • Long-term or short-term private disability insurance: Private disability insurance policies may be available through your work, though you can also buy them independently. With private insurance, you file a claim with and then receive payouts from your insurance company. Payments usually last for a set number of months and are worth a percentage of your former paychecks.
  • Veterans disability benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers disability benefits for current and retired service members who have suffered an injury that’s left them unable to work. You can get VA benefits at the same time as SSDI or SSI. Learn more about how Atticus can help with VA benefits.

The rest of this guide will cover only SSDI and SSI since they’re the most common types of benefits available to Kansas residents. And even if you apply for private insurance programs, your insurance company may still require you to apply for SSDI.

Skip the reading. See which benefits you qualify for in 2-minutes or less.

Qualifying for Disability in Kansas 

You must meet specific medical and technical requirements in order to qualify for SSDI and SSI. Both programs have the same medical requirements but their work and income requirements differ.

Below is a breakdown of information you need to know about qualifying for disability.

Conditions that qualify for disability in Kansas

Disability benefits are only an option if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition that leaves you unable to work. Your condition must also be expected to continue for at least one year.

SSA data released in 2022 lists the most common conditions among people who receive disability benefits in Kansas: 

  • Congenital anomalies: 0.7%
  • Endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases: 2.4% 
  • Infectious and parasitic diseases: 0.6% 
  • Injuries: 3.5% 
  • Mental Disorders: 37.4% 
  • Cancers: 3.0% 
  • Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs: 0.2% 
  • Diseases of the circulatory system: 6.4%
  • Diseases of the digestive system: 1.6% 
  • Diseases of the genitourinary system: 1.3% 
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue: 27.4% 
  • Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs: 10.5% 
  • Diseases of the respiratory system: 2.9% 
  • Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue: 0.2%
  • Other types of mental or physical disorders: 0.2% 
  • Unknown: 1.7%

Mental health conditions can also qualify for benefits. A few of the most common mental health disorders among people in Kansas with benefits are:

  • Depressive, bipolar, and related disorders: 8,941 people
  • Intellectual disorders: 8,475 people
  • Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders: 3,668 people

Learn more about what conditions qualify for disability benefits.

Technical SSDI qualifications

To qualify for SSDI, you must:

  • Be under 67 years old.
  • Meet work credit requirements. You can see how many work credits you have through your SSA.gov account. You most likely qualify if you have worked at least five out of the last 10 years.

Learn more about SSDI eligibility.

Technical SSI qualifications

To qualify for SSI, you must:

  • Have little to no income, which means less than $1,000 per month in most cases.
  • Have very few assets — like personal savings and retirement investments — usually equalling less than $2,000 for single applicants and $3,000 for married individuals.

Learn more about SSI eligibility.


How do I apply for disability in Kansas?  

To apply for disability benefits, there is a main application form (Form SSA-16) plus a few supplementary forms that ask for information about your work history, day-to-day functioning, and any treatment you receive for your condition.

While filling out these forms on your own is an option, an experienced disability lawyer can also fill out the application for you.

How can I submit my application?

There are three ways you can file your disability benefits application:

  1. Apply over the phone by calling (800) 772-1213
  2. Apply online through the SSA website
  3. Apply in person at your local SSA office

Submitting your application in person is a great idea if you are completing it independently because you can get tips from SSA staff on how to answer questions.They can’t provide legal advice but information on the how to give accurate answers is still helpful.

How should I prepare my application?

Filling out your application (and then waiting for a decision) can take longer than you’d expect, especially if you’re applying on your own. Consider working with a lawyer for help keeping track of all the deadlines, paperwork and other requirements for your disability application.

Here are some key things you need to do if you’re applying on your own:

  • Gather your records. You should prepare by assembling medical records, contact information for your doctors and medical providers, work history information, education records, and bank account information.
  • Submit the application, including supplemental forms. In all of your application forms, it’s very important that you’re specific and realistic about your limitations and pain levels. You also must be consistent with your answers across forms. Inconsistencies could raise red flags for SSA reviewers.
  • Follow up with the SSA after you submit. Reach out to the SSA soon after you submit to confirm that they’ve received the application and are processing it.
  • Respond to any requests from SSA immediately. After the SSA begins to process your application, it might request additional documentation or require you to see a disability doctor associated with their office. Usually, you have 10 days to provide documentation or to follow up with them.

Another perk of working with a lawyer is that they can fill out the application for you, submit it, and then confirm that the SSA has received it. Atticus can also help by giving you free legal advice on completing your application or finding the right lawyer. Fill out our 2-minute disability quiz to get started

What happens after I apply? 

Unfortunately, not many applications are approved after the first review. Around 70% of people are denied benefits, leading them to file for reconsideration. Still, over 90% of reconsiderations are rejected. Next you can request a hearing before a judge, and this stage gives you the highest chance of acceptance. Nearly 50% of people at hearings are approved for benefits. Your chances of approval also increase if you have a lawyer to advocate on your behalf — applicants with lawyers are three times more likely to win benefits.

Learn more in our step-by-step overview of the disability process.


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

It can take a long time to get a final decision from the SSA about your disability benefits. Because so many applications are denied at the first review, the follow-up reviews contribute the most to the extended wait time.

In 2022, it took an average of 5.5 months (165 days) for a person to receive an initial decision on their application. Applicants had to wait another 4.9 months for a reconsideration request to be processed, if they followed through with this step. The average wait time for a hearing in Kansas was 15.5 months. All told, the process takes an average of 25.9 months in Kansas.

Here’s a breakdown of hearing wait times by SSA offices in Kansas.

Hearing office

Wait time for hearing

Topeka

17 months

Wichita

14 months

There also isn’t really a way to speed up this process. The only way to get benefits faster is to send in any requested follow-up documentation as quickly as possible and meet all SSA deadlines — both of which a lawyer can help you do.


How much does disability pay in Kansas?

The amount of your disability checks depends on what type of benefits you receive and your work or income history.

Average SSDI payments in Kansas

According to the most recent SSA data, the average monthly SSDI benefit for Kansas residents is $1,321.28. The exact amount of your SSDI benefit check is based on your work history. The highest possible SSDI benefit anyone can receive is $3,822 in 2024.

To figure out your potential SSDI paycheck, start by going to SSA.gov and making an account:

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

Average SSI payments in Kansas

The average monthly SSI payment in Kansas is $568.08, very similar to the national average. The maximum anyone can receive from SSI in 2024 is $943 per month.

To determine the amount of your SSI check, the SSA subtracts all other monthly income you have — including SNAP benefits, stock earnings, and money from part-time work — from the maximum amount.


Disability lawyers in Kansas: how to find the right attorney

Having an experienced disability lawyer is a major help throughout the application process. They can fill out the application forms, help you stay on top of deadlines, communicate with the SSA, prepare you for a hearing, cross-examine witnesses, and simply help you make the best possible case for disability benefits. You’re also three times more likely to win benefits if you have a lawyer versus if you don’t.

Consider these five essential points as you search for a disability lawyer in Kansas:

  • Reviews: Read reviews of lawyers and look for patterns in what clients say.  A few negative reviews aren’t necessarily bad but several negative comments are a sign the lawyer might not be right for you. You’ll also get a clearer picture of how the lawyer works. For example, if many people say they’re very nice but slow with communication, then you know what to expect if you hire that lawyer.
  • Primary area of practice: You want a lawyer specializing in disability benefits. If they do, they’ll likely know better how to help you win your case. 
  • Location (to an extent): You don’t need a lawyer who lives close to you. Having a local lawyer may be a benefit because they’re more familiar with the judges at your nearest SSA hearing office, but any qualified disability lawyer can help you win benefits.
  • Communication: Look for a lawyer who communicates well and gives you reliable ways to contact them, whether that’s email, over the phone, or in person. They should also keep you updated on your case and be able to answer your questions in a way that you understand.
  • How long they’ve practiced: The longer a lawyer has practiced, the more experience they may have with cases similar to yours. New lawyers can be just as good as seasoned ones — they’re just harder to vet.

Atticus can simplify your lawyer search by matching you with an experienced lawyer for free. We have an extensive network of vetted lawyers and can connect you with someone who will treat you with respect throughout your application. Fill out our eligibility quiz to get started and a member of our team will reach out for next steps.

Ready to get benefits today?

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Kansas

How do I qualify for disability in Kansas?

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 Kansas?

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 Kansas?

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

The average SSDI payment in Kansas is $1,321.28 per month. The average SSI payment is $568.08 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 Kansas?

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 Kansas have a state disability program?

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


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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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