Filing for Disability in Florida: Social Security and SSI

Florida offers optional state supplementation benefits (OSS) for some SSI recipients.

By , Contributing Author
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Filing for disability in Florida is much like filing in any state because Social Security Disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal programs. However, there are variations between the states on how they handle the application process and payment of disability benefits. Information specific to the Florida application and appeals process, Florida's state supplemental payment for SSI, vocational rehabilitation services, and contact information for the disability determination and hearing offices in Florida are outlined below.

Application and Appeals Process

Initial Application

You can apply for SSDI and SSI by contacting any of the 54 Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices in Florida or by filling out an online disability application at the Social Security website. Once the application is received by the local SSA office, it is sent to the Division of Disability Determinations (DDD) agency, which is under the Florida Department of Health. A claims examiner and medical consultant (doctor) at DDD will review the application and make a decision regarding whether or not you will receive disability benefits.

At the initial application stage, only 34% of individuals are approved in Florida. This approval rating is slightly lower than the national average disability approval rate for initial applications, which was recently 35%.

Stage of Application



Approval After Initial Application



Approval After Reconsideration Review



Approval After Appeal Hearing



Hearing Wait Time

16 months

17 months


If you are not satisfied with the determination that is made by the Florida DDD, you have the right to appeal the decision. In Florida, there are four parts to the appeal process.


At the reconsideration stage, a new reviewer at DDD who did not take part in the initial decision on your case will look at your entire application and any new evidence that you have submitted. At the reconsideration stage in Florida, 13% of the initially denied claims are approved. This is below the national average for approvals at the reconsideration level.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing

If you are not satisfied with the decision after reconsideration, you have the right to a disability hearing before an ALJ. The ALJ will review your application and any new evidence that you have submitted. (Learn more about the disability hearing.)

Many cases are won at the hearing stage, as it is usually the first opportunity for those making the decisions regarding your case to see and speak with you. In Florida, the approval rating at the disability hearing stage is 56%. This is above the national average approval rating of 45%, and the chance of approval increases if you hire a disability attorney to represent you at the hearing.

Appeals Council

If you get an "unfavorable" decision (a denial) from the ALJ, you have the right to appeal to the Social Security Appeals Council. The Appeals Council makes a decision on your case only if they believe that your case was decided incorrectly, meaning the decision made was not supported by your record or there were procedural problems.

Federal Court Lawsuit

If your case is not reviewed by the Appeals Council or the ALJ's decision wasn't overturned, you may choose to file a lawsuit in federal court in Florida district court. This step may occur only when all other appeals steps have been tried.

Florida's Supplemental Payments for SSI

In 2019, the federal government provided the following monthly benefits to SSI disability recipients with no other income:

Federal Monthly SSI Benefit





While the federal government pays the bulk of the monthly benefit, states have the option to pay additional monthly benefits to individuals in their state. Florida has chosen to pay additional monies only to individuals living in community care programs (a.k.a. family care homes) or Medicaid facilities (that is, nursing facilities for which Medicaid pays more than 50% of the cost). The 2019 payments from Florida are outlined below.

Type of Living Arrangement Florida Monthly Supplemental Payments

Adult Family Care Home





Assisted Living





Medicaid Facility





Mental Health Residential Facility





Contact Florida's Department of Children and Families for information on applying for Florida's Optional State Supplementation (OSS).

Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Often individuals with impairments want to attempt to return to work but are in need of job retraining return to work successfully. In Florida, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) under the Florida Department of Education is the government office that helps individuals to prepare for, get, and keep jobs. You can apply at your local VR office to receive services. Below is the contact information for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation:

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Florida Department of Education
Tallahassee, FL 323201
Phone: (800) 451-4327

How to Contact the DDD in Florida

The Division of Disability Determinations is the office that will initially review and determine whether you will receive benefits. In Florida, the DDD is divided into eight offices throughout the state. Below are the telephone numbers for each area office.

Central Area 1


Central Area 2


Central Area 3


Jacksonville Area


Miami Area


Orlando Area


Pensacola Area


Tampa Area


How to Contact the Disability Hearing Office in Florida

The Office of Hearings Operations (OHO), formerly known as the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), has eight locations in Florida.

Fort Lauderdale

500 East Broward Blvd.
Suite 1000, 10th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33394
Phone: (888)436-2637
Fax: (954) 356-7901

Services the following Social Security field offices: Belle Glade, Delray Beach, Ft. Lauderdale (East & West), Melbourne, North Broward, Pembroke Pines, Port St. Lucie, South Broward, Sunrise, Vero Beach, and W. Palm Beach

Fort Myers

3650 Colonial Blvd.
2nd Floor
Ft. Myers, FL 33966
Phone: (888) 462-1109
Fax: (239) 278-0684

Services the following field offices: Ft Myers, Naples, and Port Charlotte


DeSoto Building, Suite 400
8880 Freedom Crossing Trail
Jacksonville, Florida 32256
Phone: (866) 931-0124
Fax: (904) 232-3961

Services the following field offices: Deland, Gainesville, Jacksonville North and South, Lake City, Port Orange, and St. Augustine


One Riverview Square
333 S. Miami Avenue, 8th Floor
Miami, FL 33130
Phone: (866) 964-5052
Fax: (305) 536-4788

Services the following field offices: Allapattah, Hialeah, Key West, Little Havanna, Little River, Miami Beach, Miami North, Miami South, Perrine, and the office at Jackson Memorial Hospital


Glenridge Building, Suite 300
3505 Lake Lynda Drive
Orlando, Florida 32817-9801
Phone: (877) 833-2730
Fax: (407) 380-3658

Services the following field offices: Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Kissimmee, Lake Mary, Leesburg, Ocala, and Orlando

St. Petersburg

830 Central Ave, 2nd Floor
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (877) 452-4193
Fax: (727) 893-3148

Services the following field offices: Bradenton, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Sarasota, St Petersburg, and Venice.


1961 Quail Grove Lane, 2nd floor
Tallahassee, Florida 32311
Phone: (888) 472-5996
Fax: (850) 942-1034

Services the following field offices: Marianna, Panama City, and Tallahassee


Fountain Square II, Suite 200
4925 Independence Parkway
Tampa, Florida 33634
Phone: (855) 248-0239
Fax: (813) 883-7355

Services the following field offices: Carrolwood, Dade City, Lakeland, Sebring, Seffner, Tampa, and Winter Haven

Mobile, Alabama

550 Government St., Suite 200
Mobile, Alabama 36602
Phone: (866) 563-4698
Fax: (251) 441-5993

Services the Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola field offices (in addition to Alabama field offices).

In addition, if you are considering hiring an attorney to represent you, you can visit our Florida disability lawyer page.

Updated September 30, 2019

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