The Social Security disability approval process in Arkansas is the same as in the rest of the country, because Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs. But, the following differs in each state:
This article discusses these differences and provides contact information for disability-related offices in Arkansas.
You can apply for disability benefits online at the SSA website or through a local Social Security field office. At the field office (or over the phone), a claims representative will review your application to make sure you've met all of the technical requirements for benefits (such as the work history requirements for SSDI or the income limits for SSI).
If you meet the technical requirements, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will send your application to a claims examiner at Arkansas Disability Determination for SSA (DDSSA), a state agency, for a medical decision to be made on your records.
Social Security sends your claim to Arkansas DDSSA soon after you submit your application. So you should call DDSSA with any questions you have about your application after you apply. Here is DDSSA's contact information.
Arkansas Disability Determination for SSA
701 Pulaski Street
Little Rock, AR 72201
It takes about four to six months to get an initial decision from Arkansas's DDSSA. If your claim is denied, you'll receive a denial letter in the mail. If you appeal, it will likely take another three to five months to get an answer on your request for reconsideration.
If you get turned down a second time and have to go to a disability hearing, you're less than halfway done. In 2023, it's taking an average of 16 months to get a hearing date, from the time you file a request for hearing until the date the case is decided by an ALJ.
For the 2023 fiscal year, Arkansas's DDSSA, the state agency that determines medical eligibility for Social Security and SSI disability for Arkansas residents, approved 38% of disability claims at the initial application level.
At the appeal hearing level, Arkansas administrative law judges (ALJs) awarded benefits in 52% of the cases heard.
|Stage of Application
Hearing Wait Time
If the claims examiner at the Arkansas DDSSA denies your claim, you can ask that it be reconsidered by a different claims examiner, by filing a reconsideration request (this is the first level of appeal). Unfortunately, the approval rate at the reconsideration stage is typically very low, around 14%.
If your claim is denied again, you can request a disability 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 branch of Social Security, where a judge will decide your case at a disability hearing.
Arkansas has two hearing office locations where disability hearings are held. In addition, the Memphis and Shreveport offices service some areas in Arkansas. Below are the hearing offices' addresses.
Fort Smith, AR
Central Mall, Suite 475
5111 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72903-2034
Little Rock, AR
2405 Federal Office Building
700 West Capitol Avenue
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
309 Monroe Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
(In addition to servicing field offices in Tennessee, this hearing office services West Memphis in Arkansas.)
Louisiana Tower, Suite 700
401 Edwards Street
Shreveport, LA 71101-6129
Phone: (866) 690-1805
(In addition to servicing field offices in Louisiana, this hearing office services Texarkana in Arkansas.)
Before your hearing, you may want to check for address and phone number changes using Social Security's hearing office locator.
The average SSDI payment in Arkansas is $1,499 per month, but some people receive up to $3,600, depending on their income. (And widows and disabled adult children receive less.) Read more about how Social Security calculates your SSDI payment.
SSI doesn't pay as well. The federal monthly SSI benefit for an individual in 2023 is up to $914; for a couple, it's $1,371.
But in Arkansas, the average SSI payment is $571. (Most people receive less than the federal maximum, because the amount of SSI they receive depends on whether they have other income or if they receive free room and board.)
Some states provide a supplemental payment to the federal monthly benefit for SSI recipients; Arkansas, however, does not. This means that SSI recipients in Arkansas may receive a slightly lower monthly benefit than those in neighboring states.
Arkansas exempts 100% of Social Security benefits and SSI benefits from a resident's tax liability. That means the state doesn't tax SSDI or SSI payments. For people with higher incomes, the federal government will tax a portion of their SSDI benefits. But the IRS will never tax SSI benefits.
Arkansas state law limits how much medical providers can charge you to copy your medical records for you. Arkansas law allows doctors and hospitals to charge patients $0.50 a page for the first 25 pages and $0.25 a page for any additional pages. A provider can also charge a $15.00 labor fee and can ask for reimbursement for the actual cost of postage.
Arkansas offers vocational rehabilitation services through the Arkansas Rehabilitation Services (ARS), which is a division of the Department of Career Education. ARS serves disabled residents by providing such services as diagnostic and educational testing, access to technology, and help with supportive housing. For more information, visit the ARS website.
If you'd like to find out more about getting disability in Arkansas, and what you can expect during the application process, check out these articles:
Updated September 11, 2023
Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021
Annual Statistical Supplement, 2022