While Social Security disability (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are federal benefit programs that provide cash payments to those who are unable to work, there is some specific information that you should know if you intend to file for disability in Illinois.
There are a few different ways to file for Social Security disability benefits in Illinois. You can:
If you apply for Social Security or SSI disability in Illinois, you will receive a written decision on your claim in approximately 3-4 months. Approximately 36% of those who apply for disability in Illinois are approved for disability benefits without having to appeal. If your application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you can still be approved for benefits through the SSA’s appeals process.
To appeal a Social Security disability denial in Illinois, you need to complete a “Request for Reconsideration” form and submit this to the SSA within 65 days of the date on your denial letter.
If your reconsideration is denied, the next step in the Social Security appeals process is to appear for a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ). While more than half (approximately 51%) of Illinois disability hearings result in the claimant being awarded benefits, the wait for an ALJ hearing can be long. The average wait for a disability ALJ hearing in Illinois is 14 months, slightly shorter than the national average.
While an ALJ may occasionally announce their opinion at a disability hearing, in the majority of cases, you’ll receive a written decision in the mail approximately 30 days after your hearing.
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Hearing Wait Time
Illinois residents who are awarded SSI may be eligible for an additional payment from the state of Illinois, called the state supplemental payment (SSP) or AABD Cash Assistance. The amount of this Illinois SSI supplement is determined by subtracting the disabled individual’s “monthly maintenance costs” from the amount of his or her SSI payment (plus any other income.) If these maintenance costs are higher than this combined amount, Illinois will pay the SSI recipient additional amounts for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and more. The SSP is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). For more information, see AABD Cash Assistance allowances on the DHS website.
Although Social Security disability is a federal benefit program, each state’s disability determination agency is responsible for making the medical decisions on disability claims. Illinois' Disability Determination Services (DDS) office is located at:
Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services
Department of Human Services
PO Box 19250
Springfield, IL 62794-9250
Disability appeal hearings in Illinois are held at the SSA’s Offices of Hearing Operations (OHO). These offices were formerly known as Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). Below is the contact information for Illinois’s OHO offices.
Citadel Building, 25th Floor
131 S. Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60603
Tel: (866) 964-1719
Fax: (312) 263-7418
(The Chicago HO serves all field offices in Chicago except Chicago North and Northwest.)
Northwestern University Research Park
1033 University Place, Suite 200
Evanston, Illinois 60201
Tel: (866) 336-6051
Fax: (847) 869-6121
(The Evanston HO serves the field offices in Chicago (North), Chicago (Northwest), Evanston, Freeport, Mt. Prospect, Rockford, Sterling, Waukegan, and Woodstock.)
Old Post Office, 2nd & 3rd Floors
100 NW Second Street
Evansville, IN 47708
Telephone: (855) 863-3559
Fax: (812) 424-4688
(The Evansville HO serves the field offices in Carbondale, Effingham, Harrisburg, Mount Vernon, and West Frankfort.)
2301 West 22nd Street, Suite 201
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Tel: (866) 964-7344
Fax: (630) 954-2995
(The Oak Brook HO serves the field offices in Aurora, Bloomingdale, Elgin, Hillside, North Riverside, and Woodridge.)
15401 South 94th Avenue
Orland Park, Illinois 60462
Tel: (877) 490-9530
Fax: (708) 675-3300
(The Orland Park HO serves the field offices in Champaign, Chicago (SW Suburbs), Chicago Heights, Danville, Joliet, Kankakee, and Peru.)
3328 W. Willow Knolls Drive
Peoria, Illinois 61614
Tel: (866) 726-8293
Fax: (309) 689-9782
(The Peoria HO serves the field offices in Bloomington, Decatur, Galesburg, Pekin, Peoria, Rock Island, and Springfield.)
If you are interested in obtaining vocational rehab services to help you return to work, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Rehabilitation Services Department may be able to help. Through their Supported Employment Program (SEP,) those with significant disabilities may be able to obtain ongoing support services that allow them to continue to work. You can apply for rehabilitation services online at https://wr.dhs.illinois.gov/wrpublic/wr/dynamic/referral.jsf or call the DHS Helpline at 800-843-6154 for more information.
The laws, rules, and procedures of applying for Social Security disability in Illinois can be difficult for a disabled worker to navigate on their own. Many applicants choose to hire an experienced Illinois SSDI attorney. If you've been denied benefits and need to appeal, it makes sense to talk to a disability lawyer, who can increase your chances of winning your appeal. You can use our lawyer locator below to contact an Illinois disability lawyer.
Updated September 30, 2019