Filing for Social Security Disability in Alaska

Alaska's disability agency approves more disability applications at the initial application stage than most other states.

By , Paralegal and Research Analyst

If you live in Alaska and are unable to work due to illness or injury for at least a one-year period, you could be eligible to receive Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. These federal programs provide monthly cash payments to those who qualify.

What Do SSDI, SSI, and DDS Mean?

SSDI is for workers who've paid into the system for many years through payroll taxes or self-employment taxes. If you haven't worked long enough, or recently enough, to qualify for Social Security disability benefits, you could still be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. SSI is a needs-based federal disability program with no earning history requirements. However, you do have to meet strict asset and income limits to qualify for SSI benefits.

But even though Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs, a state agency actually decides if a disability applicant is disabled for the purpose of SSDI or SSI benefits.

In Alaska, that state agency is called Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state-level agency under the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. After you file your initial disability application with Social Security, your file is sent to the Alaska DDS. (Contact information for the DDS office is below.)

How Do I File for Social Security Disability Benefits in Alaska?

You can apply for disability benefits online, through a local Social Security field office (there are field offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau), or by calling the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 800-772-1213.

To apply for disability benefits in Alaska, you'll need to have a significant amount of information on hand, including:

  • details about the condition(s) that cause you to be unable to work
  • medical or psychiatric treatment you've obtained (including doctors' contact information), and
  • your past employment and earnings.

After you file your application, the SSA will send your file to Disability Determination Services (DDS). In Alaska, there is only one DDS location, in Anchorage. There, a claims examiner (sometimes called an adjudicator), along with a doctor, will decide whether you are disabled and eligible for Social Security benefits.

After your file has been sent to a DDS office, contact the Anchorage DDS office with any questions or to check the status of your claim. You'll find the contact information below.

Anchorage DDS Office
619 East Ship Creek #305
Anchorage, AK 99508
(907) 777-8100

How Do I Appeal a Disability Decision in Alaska?

Approximately four to five months after you file for disability, you'll receive a written decision in the mail. If the Anchorage DDS denies your claim, and you're still unable to work, you may want to appeal the decision.

Appealing a Denial From DDS

The first step in the Social Security appeals process is called a reconsideration request, where you request that DDS reconsiders the application.

If DDS denies your claim again, you can request a hearing by filing a request for a hearing with an administrative law judge. The DDS will then send your claim to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), a satellite office of Social Security in Anchorage, where an administrative law judge (ALJ) will decide your case at a disability hearing.

What Happens at a Disability Hearing?

At your Social Security hearing in Anchorage, you'll have the chance to testify about your disability and why you can't work. The ALJ might ask you questions about your prior employment or what you can and can't do, and the SSA could hire a medical and/or vocational (employment) expert to give their opinions. In most cases, you'll receive the judge's decision in the mail within one month of your hearing.

Travel Costs for Hearings in Anchorage

If the hearing office is more than 75 miles from your home or office, Social Security will pay your transportation expenses, such as the cost of gas or a bus ticket. If you need to stay overnight, the SSA might also pay for your meals and accommodations. But the ALJ who will preside at your hearing must approve these travel costs before the hearing. Be sure to keep your receipts and a list of your expenses, because you'll have to submit them to the hearing office to get reimbursed.

Hearing Statistics

The SSA hasn't released recent statistics for its satellite hearing offices, but in 2020, the last time statistics were available, less than a quarter of administrative hearings for Alaska resulted in the disability applicant being awarded benefits. The approval rate for Anchorage hearings is probably low (the lowest approval rate in the country) because the Alaska DDS office approves so many claims at the initial application stage.

Alaska Hearing Office

All disability hearings in Alaska are held at the satellite Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) office in Anchorage. Contact information for the OHO office is listed below.

Anchorage Hearing Office
188 West Northern Lights Blvd.
6th Floor
Anchorage, AK 99503
Tel: (855) 602-5004
Fax: (833)953-2037

Appeals Council & Federal Court Case

If your disability hearing results in an unfavorable decision (you're denied benefits), there are two more steps in the SSDI/SSI appeals process: an Appeals Council review and the filing of a lawsuit in the United States District Court of Alaska (federal court.)

Few disability applicants have their claims approved at these levels, and you'll need to retain a licensed attorney should you decide to file a lawsuit as a result of your denied disability claim.

What Are My Chances of Approval Throughout the Disability Process?

Alaska's Disability Determination Services approves more initial claims (70%) than the national average (38%), as well as more claims at the reconsideration stage (18% compared to 15%). (FY 2022 Allowance Rates (.xls), Social Security Administration).

Stage of Application



Initial Application



Reconsideration Review



Appeal Hearing



Hearing Wait Time

14 months*

15 months

*Based on 2020 statistics from ALJ Disposition Data Fiscal Year and Average Wait Time Until Hearing (Social Security Administration).

Does Alaska Have a State Supplement for SSI?

If you receive federal SSI benefits in Alaska, the state will pay an additional supplement each month. The amount of the SSI supplement, called Adult Public Assistance (APA) in Alaska, depends on your living arrangements.

For example, if you live independently, your state SSI supplement will be $362 per month (in addition to the maximum $914 SSI payment). If you live in the household of another, you will receive $365 more per month. If you reside in an assisted living home (ALH), your Alaska SSI supplement will be $100 per month, and if you live in a Medicaid facility, you can receive an extra $170 per month. (Adult Public Assistance Need and Maximum Payment Standards, 2023 (Alaska Department of Public Health).)

These supplemental payments are in addition to the federal SSI, which is up to $914 for an individual in 2023 and $1,371 for a couple.

Does Alaska Have Services to Help Me Return to Work?

Disabled Alaska residents who would like to return to work have access to a variety of services through the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD).

The DOLWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provides job search and placement assistance, training, referrals, counseling, and more. You can apply for services on the Alaska DOLWD website or contact one of their offices. Contact information for the central office is below, or you can find an office near you here.

Alaska Department of Vocational Rehabilitation
Central Office

1111 W. 8th St., Ste 210
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894
(907) 465-2814
(800) 478-2815

Updated August 2, 2023

Talk to a Disability Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Boost Your Chance of Being Approved

Get the Compensation You Deserve

Our experts have helped thousands like you get cash benefits.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you