The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs that provide cash payments to people who are unable to work are federal programs, but if you intend to file for disability in Illinois, here is some specific information that you should know.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a few different ways to file for Social Security disability benefits in Illinois. You can do any of the following:
If you apply for Social Security or SSI disability in Illinois, Social Security will send you a written decision on your claim in approximately 4-5 months.
Approximately 37% of those who apply for disability in Illinois are approved for disability benefits without having to appeal. But if your application for Social Security disability benefits is denied, you can still be approved for benefits through the SSA's appeals process.
To start 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 60 days of the date on your denial letter. A reconsideration is just a paper review of your file by a different disability claims examiner at Illinois' Bureau of Disability Determination Services.
If the examiner denies you again, the next step in the Social Security appeals process is to appear for a disability hearing in front of an administrative law judge (ALJ).
More than half (approximately 51%) of Illinois disability hearings result in the applicant being awarded benefits, but the wait for an ALJ hearing can be long. The average wait for a disability ALJ hearing in Illinois is 14 months, slightly longer 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.
Here are the approval and wait-time statistics for Illinois from 2021, the most recent available.
|Stage of Application||
Initial Application Approval Rate
Reconsideration Approval Rate
Appeal Hearing Approval Rate
Hearing Wait Time
You can read more here about who Social Security considers disabled.
SSI is a federal program, so most of the monthly disability benefit is from the federal government. As of 2022, the maximum federal monthly payment for individuals who have no other income is $841; the payment for couples is $1,261 per month.
The State of Illinois chooses to pay an additional monthly payment to supplement the monthly federal payment. Social Security calls these additional payments "state supplemental payments" (SSPs), but Illinois calls them "AABD Cash Assistance." AABD stands for "Aid to the Aged, Blind or Disabled."
The Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) determines the amount of your AABD cash supplement by looking at your expenses and income. DHS will subtract your "monthly maintenance costs" (what you spend on rent, food, and utilities) from the amount of your SSI payment (plus any other income). If your maintenance costs are higher than this combined amount, Illinois will pay you additional amounts for food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and more.
You can apply for AABD Cash online at www.dhs.state.il.us or at your local Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) office.
The SSP is administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS). For more information, see AABD Cash Assistance allowances on the DHS website.
Illinois 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 someone's SSDI benefits. But the IRS will never tax SSI benefits.
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. The name and address of Illinois' Disability Determination Services (DDS) office are:
Illinois Bureau of Disability Determination Services
Department of Human Services
PO Box 19250
Springfield, IL 62794-9250
The Bureau of Disability Determination Services' hotline telephone number is 800-225-3607.
Disability appeal hearings in Illinois are held at the SSA's Offices of Hearings Operations (OHOs). These offices were formerly known as Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODARs). 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: (833) 619-0566
(The Chicago HO serves all field offices in Chicago except Chicago North, Chicago Northwest, and Chicago Southwest Suburbs. You can call the Chicago hearing office to find out if it serves your area.)
Northwestern University Research Park
1033 University Place, Suite 200
Evanston, Illinois 60201
Tel: (866) 336-6051
Fax: (833) 619-0758
(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: (833) 985-2301
(The Evansville HO serves the field offices in Carbondale, Effingham, Harrisburg, Mount Vernon, and West Frankfort, as well as some cities in Indiana.)
2301 West 22nd Street, Suite 201
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
Tel: (866) 964-7344
Fax: (833) 789-0411
(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: (833) 619-0564
(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: (833) 559-0774
(The Peoria HO serves the field offices in Bloomington, Decatur, Galesburg, Pekin, Peoria, Rock Island, and Springfield.)
If you're interested in obtaining vocational rehab services, the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) Rehabilitation Services Department may be able to help. Through their Supported Employment Program (SEP), people with significant disabilities may be able to obtain ongoing support services that allow them to find jobs. Their Home Services Program (HSP) can help people live at home independently.
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 for applying for Social Security disability in Illinois can be difficult for disabled workers to navigate on their own. Many applicants choose to hire experienced SSDI attorneys. 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.
Updated May 19, 2022
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