Filing for Disability Benefits in Delaware | SSDI and SSI

What you need to know about disability benefits in Delaware, including the state's average SSDI and SSI disability benefit payments.

By , J.D. · Albany Law School

The Social Security disability benefits process is similar throughout the country because Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs. However, there are some differences between the states. For instance, the average SSDI payment in Delaware is $1,670 per month (compared to $1,480 nationally), and the average SSI payment in Delaware is just $585 per month (compared to $568 nationally).

How Do I Apply for and Get Disability Benefits in Delaware?

You can apply for disability benefits online on the website of the Social Security Administration (SSA) or through a local Social Security field office. Delaware has three field offices, in Dover, Wilmington, and Lewes.

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, including 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 Delaware Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency, for a medical decision to be made on your records.

Once your application is filed at your local SSA office, you should direct all questions to the DDS office that handles cases in Delaware. Here is the contact information for Delaware's DDS.

Delaware DDS
920 West Basin Road, Suite 300
New Castle, DE 19720

Mail: PO Box 15711
Wilmington, DE 19885

Phone: (302) 324-7600

How Does Delaware's DDS Decide if I Qualify for Disability?

The claims examiner at the Disability Determination Services in New Castle will use a step-by-step process involving five questions to determine if you have a qualifying disability. The five questions are:

  1. Are you working too much to be considered disabled?
  2. Is your condition "severe"?
  3. Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?
  4. Can you do the work you did previously?
  5. Can you do any other type of work?

If the DDS finds you're disabled and can't work based on your medical record, you'll receive an award letter approving you for disability benefits.

What Happens If DDS Denies My Disability Claim?

If the claims examiner at Delaware DDS denies your claim, you can ask that a different claims examiner reconsider it, by filing a reconsideration request (this is the first level of appeal).

If the 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 branch of Social Security in Dover, where a judge will decide your case at a disability hearing.

The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) is responsible for all SSDI and SSI appeals. Below is the contact information for the hearing office in Dover, which serves all three of Delaware's field offices.

Dover Hearing Office
Blue Hen Corporate Center
655 S. Bay Road, Suite 31
Dover, DE 19901
(866) 895-1594

Before your hearing, you may want to check for address or phone number changes with Social Security's hearing office locator.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Decision on a Disability Claim in Delaware?

It takes about four to six months to get an initial decision from Delaware's DDS. If your claim is denied, it will likely take another three to five months to get an answer on your request for reconsideration.

If the DDS denies you a second time and you have to go to a disability hearing, you'll have to wait even longer. In 2023, it's taking an average of 15 months to get a hearing date in Delaware, from the time you file a request for hearing until the date the case is decided by an ALJ.

What Are My Chances of Being Approved for Social Security in Delaware?

If you're filing a Social Security disability claim in Delaware, your chances of being granted benefits are in line with the national averages in all three stages of approval, though you have a slightly better chance of being approved for benefits after a disability hearing. (You can also increase your chances of winning if you're represented by a disability lawyer at your hearing.)

Below is a chart comparing Delaware to the national average for disability approvals (and hearing wait time).



Initial Application









Hearing Wait Time

15 months

15 months

Source: ALJ Disposition Data Fiscal Year 2023 and Average Wait Time Until Hearing, June 2023 (Social Security).

Does Delaware Have a State Supplement to SSI?

The SSI program is mainly funded by the federal government, but Delaware chooses to pay some recipients of SSI additional monthly amounts.

First, the maximum federal payments are $914 per individual and $1,371 per couple, per month (actual monthly payments may be decreased if you have additional income or get free room and board).

Second, the State of Delaware only pays additional amounts to SSI recipients living in:

  • certified adult residential care facilities
  • assisted living facilities, and
  • adult foster care homes.

These SSI recipients can receive up to an additional $140 per month from the State of Delaware; the average state supplemental payment is $133.95.

Is Disability Income Taxable in Delaware?

Delaware 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.

The federal government does tax a portion of some people's SSDI benefits, but only for people with higher incomes. The IRS doesn't tax SSI benefits.

Can I Be Charged for Medical Records in Delaware?

Delaware state law has limits as to how much patients can be charged to receive a copy of their medical records. People who are requesting medical records to file a Social Security claim are not exempt from this charge. Below is a chart for the charges.

Maximum Charge

Number of Pages

$2 per page

1-10 pages

$1 per page

11-20 pages

$0.90 per page

21-60 pages

$0.50 per page

61 pages and above

Additional charges may be applied to things that cannot be photocopied, like X-rays. The doctor, medical office, or hospital can charge you the full cost of making a copy of them.

There's no limit to the total amount that you can be charged for your medical records in Delaware. Large medical records may be very expensive to receive. However, those who are applying for Social Security or SSI disability benefits are not required to pay all costs for the copy before the records are released to you—you may ask to be billed for the charges.

It's important to know that these per-page price limitations only apply to individuals seeking copies of their own medical records. If your attorney requests your medical records on your behalf, the health care professional can charge them whatever they choose, and your attorney might pass that cost on to you.

Are There Resources to Help Me Return to Work in Delaware?

In Delaware, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) is available for people with disabilities who want to try to go back to work. DVR provides help finding and/or keeping a job. In order to apply for these services, you can be referred by your physician, psychologist, or community rehabilitation program, or you can refer yourself by calling any DVR office.

Once you're referred, an appointment will be scheduled for you to meet with a DVR counselor to learn more about DVR and to determine if you are eligible for services.

Delaware DVR follows an Order of Selection, meaning that because of financial limitations, those with the most severe disabilities will be provided services first. It's possible that you may not receive services if there are a lot of individuals with greater disabilities who also need services at the same time as you.

Get More Information on Filing for Disability

If you'd like to find out more about getting disability benefits, check out these articles:

Updated September 13, 2023

Other Sources:
Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, 2021
Annual Statistical Supplement, 2022

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