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Hawaii disability benefits

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Hawaii

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
Published June 28, 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 are a resident of the state of Hawaii and are unable to work due to an illness or injury, you might qualify for federal or state disability benefits. Over 22,000 Hawaiians receive benefit payments because of a disability. Read on to learn how to apply for disability in Hawaii and the different programs available. 


Disability benefits in Hawaii

There are five disability programs available for residents of Hawaii:

  • Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI). TDI is a statewide program that covers recipients for a maximum of 26 weeks for up to 58% of their former wages. To be eligible, you must have a non-work-related injury or illness that temporarily prevents you from working, and have worked at least 14 weeks for 20 hours or more in the state. 

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a federal program that provides benefits (and Medicare) to those who have worked before (typically for at least five of the last 10 years) but are unable to continue working because of a medical condition.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you haven’t worked much (or at all) and your income and assets are limited, SSI (which pays disability benefits and provides Medicaid coverage) might be a good fit for you.

  • Veterans disability benefits. VA benefits are for active and retired veterans who are unable to work due to an injury or illness sustained due to military service. In some cases, you can get VA benefits and SSDI or SSI at the same time.

  • Long-term or short-term disability insurance. Finally, Hawaii residents also have the option to purchase a private disability policy from an insurance company, which can pay out up to 60% of your former paycheck.

Get personalized advice about your options.

How to apply for TDI in Hawaii

In addition to federal benefit programs like SSDI and SSI, Hawaii offers a short-term benefits program for state residents who are temporarily unable to work because of an injury or illness (for example, COVID-19, an injury, pregnancy, or recovery from surgery). This is called Hawaii Temporary Disability Insurance, or TDI. 

It’s faster and easier to get disability benefits from TDI than from the SSA. However, the maximum amount you can receive through Hawaii TDI is $765 per week (for a total of 26 weeks). 

To be eligible for Hawaii TDI, you need to have 14 weeks of employment working 20 hours or more in the state. You’ll also need to wait seven days after your injury or illness begins before you apply (but you must file your claim within 90 days from the date of disability). You will be more likely to qualify if you’re currently receiving care from a licensed healthcare provider. 

To start your application, visit Hawaii’s Disability Compensation Division, and go through the following steps for filing a TDI claim:

  • Immediately notify your employer of your disability.

  • Ask your employer for Form TDI-45 (Claim for TDI Benefits).

  • Complete Part A of the form.

  • Ask your employer to complete Part B of the form.

  • Ask your doctor to complete Part C of the form.

  • Mail the form to your employer’s TDI insurance company.

Your employer or the insurance carrier will contact you about your entitlement to benefits.


How to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in Hawaii

If your medical condition is expected to be long-term (lasting for a year or longer) SSDI or SSI may be the better fit. 

SSDI applicants must qualify as disabled under government rules. They also need an extensive work history — you’re likely eligible if you’ve worked (and paid taxes) for at least five out of the last ten years.

On the other hand, SSI might be the better option if you have very little income and few assets (less than $2,000, or $3,000 if you’re married). And, again, you’ll need to meet the SSA’s criteria for disability. 

Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you can start your application for Social Security disability benefits in Hawaii by:

  • Collecting paperwork (such as medical records, work history, and financial information)

  • Filling out the disability application

  • Submitting your application online, over the phone, or at your local SSA office (see below)

80% of applications are initially rejected. Don’t get discouraged if your application is denied the first time. You can, and should, appeal the decision. 

If you’re denied a second time, you can request a hearing, where an administrative law judge will consider your case. In Hawaii, the average wait time to get a disability hearing is 18 months. 


SSA offices in Hawaii

There are five SSA offices in the state of Hawaii. They are open for both walk-ins and appointments. You can visit to apply in person or to get assistance related to your application.

Hilo

111 E Puainako St Ste 710

Hilo, HI 96720

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Phone Number: (855) 572-4860

Fax Number: (833) 950-2766

Honolulu

300 Ala Moana Blvd Rm 1114 Fed Bldg

Honolulu, HI 96850

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Phone Number: (855) 572-4879

Fax Number: (833) 950-2764

Kapolei

970 Manawai St

Kapolei, HI 96707

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Phone Number: (855) 572-4866

Fax Number: (833) 950-2742

Lihue

4334 Rice St Ste 105

Lihue, HI 96766

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Phone Number: (855) 572-4842

Fax Number: (833) 950-2768

Wailuku

2200 Main St Ste 125

Wailuku, HI 96793

Hours: Monday - Friday 8:30AM - 3:30PM

Phone Number: (855) 572-4863

Fax Number: (833) 950-2740

See all SSA offices in Hawaii


Do I need a disability lawyer in Hawaii?

While a representative at your local SSA office can answer basic questions about the disability application, they can’t actually give you legal advice. So it’s always a smart idea to have a legal professional on your side. 

A disability lawyer can walk you through every step of how to apply for disability in Hawaii. They’ll help you gather relevant paperwork, submit your application, and understand the appeals process. If your case goes to a hearing, your disability lawyer will prepare you for your case, and represent you in court. You won’t have to pay your lawyer until you win your case and receive back pay.

Work with a top-rated disability lawyer in Hawaii

Get help applying for benefits in Hawaii

Need help applying for disability benefits in Hawaii? We’re happy to lend a hand. At Atticus, we offer legal advice to people at any stage of the disability application process and connect you with an experienced disability lawyer to handle your case. Take this short quiz to get started, and a member of our team will reach out.

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Hawaii

What qualifies you for disability in Hawaii?

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 Hawaii?

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 Hawaii?

It takes an average of 6.1 months to get an initial disability decision in Hawaii. Most people who apply are initially rejected, and need to appeal this decision. If you appeal and go to a hearing, the process takes just over two years on average. Read more: Why It Takes so Long to Get Approved for Disability Benefits

How much does disability pay in Hawaii?

The average SSDI payment in Hawaii is $1,416.96 per month. The average SSI payment is $629.34 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.

How should I prepare my disability application in Hawaii?

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 Hawaii have a state disability program?

Yes, Hawaii is one of the five states with its own state disability program. Hawaiians can apply for temporary disability benefits (TDI) that offer up to 26 weeks of payments. Work injuries aren’t covered, though. If your injury will keep you out of work longer, you can still apply for SSDI and SSI.

Related resources:

Hawaii Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

SSA Offices in Hawaii

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By Jackie Jakab

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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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