Filing for Disability Benefits in Hawaii

Hawaii's Social Security hearing approval rate is much higher than other states, and Hawaii has a temporary disability program.

If you live in Hawaii and want to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, the application and appeal process is generally the same as in the rest of the United States, since Social Security is a federal program. However, there are differences in disability benefits between the states, including payment amounts and approval rates. Below are commonly asked questions that apply to those living in Hawaii.

How do I contact someone regarding my disability application?

Who you will contact regarding your disability benefits application depends where in the process you are. If you have filed your initial application and have questions, you should contact the Hawaii Disability Determination Services (DDS). (After your application is received by your local Social Security and screened for technical qualifications, such as income limits or work history, DDS receives your application and has the task of making a decision as to whether or not you will receive benefits based on your medical records.) There is one DDS office in Hawaii and the contact information can be found below.

Disability Determination Services
1580 Makaloa Street, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 2458
Honolulu, Hawaii 96804
Telephone: (808)973-2244

How likely am I to be approved for Social Security benefits in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, if DDS denies you disability benefits and you have to request a hearing, you have a very good chance of being approved for benefits: 70%. Unfortunately, the wait time for a hearing is almost a year and a half. Below is a chart that compares Hawaii to the national averages for the percentage of approvals.

Step in Process

Hawaii

Nationally

Initial Application

35%

35%

Reconsideration

11%

13%

Hearing

70%

46%

Hearing Wait Time

17 months

18 months

If I am approved for benefits, how much can I expect to receive every month?

For those who are approved for benefits through Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), the amount that you receive depends on the amount of money you paid into the Social Security system while working.

For those who are receiving benefits through Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you might receive a supplementary payment from the State of Hawaii in addition to the set monthly benefit from the federal government. Hawaii pays an extra benefit to those living in some type of adult care facility. The Social Security Administration administers and pays Hawaii's supplementary payment. Below is a chart that outlines the maximum you can expect to receive in Hawaii.

Living Arrangement

Hawaii Monthly Benefit

Medicaid Facility

Individual: $20

Couple: $40

Domiciliary Care Facility, Level I

Individual: $651.90

Couple: $1,640.80

Domiciliary Care Facility, Level II

Individual: $759.90

Couple: $1,856.80

Who do I contact regarding my Social Security disability appeal?

If your initial application is denied and you appeal, you should contact the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO). OHO handles all parts of the appeals process, including scheduling hearings. There is one OHO hearing office located in Hawaii, in Honolulu. In addition, a regional OHO office oversees Hawaii from San Francisco. The contact information for the Honolulu OHO can be found below.

Honolulu Hearing Office

Prince Kuhio Federal Building, Room 3-303
300 Ala Moana Boulevard
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
Telephone: (855) 601-2479
Fax: (808) 541-3536

I'd like to try to return to work. Is there anyone who can help me?

The State of Hawaii offers assistance through Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). VR provides services to those who are disabled to help them prepare, get, and keep a job. In order to receive benefits, you must follow these steps:

  • Make a referral: Referrals can be made by anyone, including yourself, by writing or calling your local office.
  • Attend orientation: Orientation is provided to inform you about services provided by VR and what qualifications there are to be eligible.
  • Intake and application: At your intake interview, you will meet with an assigned counselor who will talk with you about what the program can do for you specifically. If you want to move forward with applying, you will fill out an application at this point.
  • Assessment: At this stage, your application will be reviewed and you will be interviewed regarding your strengths and weaknesses. You will receive a decision about whether you qualify for VR within 60 days.

There are VR offices on Oahu, Kona, Maui, Kauai, and Molokai, and the Big Island.

Does Hawaii have temporary disability benefits?

Hawaii provides up to 26 weeks of temporary disability benefits for employees who have worked at least 14 weeks for their employer, for at least 20 hours per week, at a rate of at least $400 per week. The benefits are either 58% of your wages or according to the employer's plan. For more information, see our article on Hawaii's TDI benefits.

How can I get help at my disability appeal hearing?

A disability lawyer can represent you at your hearing, and can also prepare you to testify at your hearing and develop a theory of disability for you. To find a disability attorney in Hawaii, visit our Hawaii disability lawyers page by using the lawyer locator below.

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