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Illinois disability benefits

How to Apply for Disability Benefits in Illinois

Written by
Jackie Jakab, Disability Attorney
Jackie Jakab
Lead Attorney
May 22, 2024  ·  1 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 an Illinois resident with an injury or illness that prevents you from working, you could qualify for disability benefits. Federal programs can provide financial aid and healthcare, giving you the support you need. According to the Social Security Administration, in 2022, over 290,000 Illinoisans received support from disability programs. 

This guide breaks down the support systems available in your state and how to apply for disability benefits.


Disability benefits in Illinois

While, like many states, Illinois does not have a state-specific disability program, residents can still qualify for federal benefits. Both Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) offer monthly benefits, each with specific eligibility requirements.


What are the differences between SSDI and SSI?

While both SSDI and SSI can provide much-needed assistance through healthcare and monthly payments, these are two separate programs. Applicants can apply and qualify for one or both. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) eligibility is contingent on the number of “work credits” an individual earned by working and paying into Social Security. The benefit amount varies, depending on the individual’s earnings record. Typically to receive SSDI, an applicant must show they worked five of the last 10 years. SSDI recipients also qualify for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for individuals with disabilities or who are over 65 with limited income and resources. Since financial need is one of the requirements for SSI, applicants do not need a specific work history. In Illinois, SSI recipients may also qualify for Medicaid, but they will need to fill out a separate application. 

We've helped 5,814 people in Illinois apply for benefits.

How to apply for disability benefits in Illinois

There are three ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits in Illinois:

  1. Online: The quickest and most convenient way to apply for Social Security disability benefits is online at SSA.gov. This option allows you to track the process of your claim.

  2. Phone: You can also apply over the phone. Call your local Social Security office and a representative will take you through the application process.

  3. In person: Visit your nearest SSA field office to apply in person. Making an appointment ahead of time ensures you receive one-on-one help.


SSA offices in Illinois

Whether you have a quick question or need help filling out your application, local SSA offices across Illinois are ready to help.

Alton

501 Belle St Rm 103 Federal Bldg

Alton, IL 62002

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

Phone Number: (855) 285-6006

Fax Number: (833) 950-3115

Aurora

1325 N Lake St 

Aurora, IL 60506

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

Phone Number: (877) 274-5412

Fax Number: (833) 950-3109

Belleville

1670 Lebanon Ave Lake Christine Center

Belleville, IL 62221

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

Phone Number: (877) 405-0471

Fax Number: (833) 580-0167

Bloomingdale

230 West Lake St 

Bloomingdale, IL 60108

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

Phone Number: (877) 845-1577

Fax Number: (833) 950-3451

Bloomington

207 N Williamsburg Dr

Bloomington, IL 61704

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

Phone Number: (877) 405-4640

Fax Number: (833) 950-3107

Carbondale

250 W Cherry St Rm 104

Carbondale, IL 62901

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

Phone Number: (877) 714-0377

Fax Number: (833) 950-3441

Champaign

101 S Country Fair Dr 

Champaign, IL 61821

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

Phone Number: (877) 819-2593

Fax Number: (833) 950-2810

Chicago

2127 W Lawrence Ave 

Chicago, IL 60625

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

Phone Number: (877) 409-8426

Fax Number: (833) 950-2806

See all SSA offices in Illinois


Do I need a disability attorney in Illinois?

While it's not mandatory to have a lawyer when applying for disability benefits, it can be useful. Legal representation can significantly streamline your application process, and your chances of approval will be three times greater.

Get matched with a top disability lawyer in Illinois.

3 benefits of working with a disability lawyer

  1. Assistance with paperwork: The application for disability benefits can be daunting. It requires a lot of paperwork, and a lawyer can help you gather necessary documentation and ensure you have filled out all forms accurately.

  2. Communication with the SSA: Your lawyer will handle all communication with the Social Security Administration on your behalf. They will respond to requests for additional information, clarify the specifics of your medical condition, and make sure all correspondence is timely and clear.

  3. Higher likelihood of success: Applicants with legal counsel have a much higher success rate in receiving disability benefits. A lawyer's understanding of the legal system and experience with disability cases can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.

Frequently asked questions about benefits in Illinois

How do I qualify for disability in Illinois?

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 Illinois?

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 Illinois?

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

The average SSDI payment in Illinois is $1,413.31 per month. The average SSI payment is $651.63 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 Illinois?

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 Illinois have a state disability program?

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

Related resources:

Illinois Disability Benefits

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By Jackie Jakab

SSA Offices in Illinois

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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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