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Best and worst states for Social Security Disability approval
Finder analyzes the easiest and hardest states to get disability benefits in America.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government-run program that replaces part of your income if you meet its requirements and your disability keeps you from working for at least 12 months. However, less than half of those who apply are approved — and some states see more approval than others.
To assist prospective SSDI applicants, we calculated the Social Security Disability Income approval rates in all 50 states for 2020 and found the easiest and hardest states to get disability benefits approved.
Best states for Social Security Disability approval
- Kansas offers the highest chance of being approved for social security disability.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 69.7% in 2020. It had the second-highest approval rate in 2019, with 61.3% of SSDI claims approved.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,228
- New Hampshire
- New Hampshire offers the second-highest chance of being approved for social security disability.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 66.1% in 2020. It had the third-highest approval rate in 2019, with 60.2% of SSDI claims approved.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,298
- Wyoming is the third-best state for social security disability approval.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 60.3% in 2020. In comparison, it had the highest approval rate in 2019, with 63.3% of SSDI claims approved.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,265
- Alaska is the fourth-best state for social security disability approval.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 59.9% in 2020, jumping up drastically from just 49.1% in 2019.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,240
- Nebraska is the fifth-best state for social security disability approval in both 2020 and 2019.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 57.4% in 2020 and an approval rate of 55.8% in 2019.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,182
Worst States for Social Security Disability approval
- Oklahoma is the hardest state to get approved for social security disability.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of only 33.4% in 2020 and also had the worst approval rate in 2019, with 34.6% of SSDI claims approved.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,208
- Arizona is the second-hardest state to get approved for social security disability. Arizona ranked the second-lowest by social security disability approval rates in both 2020 and 2019.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 37.1% in 2020, a slight improvement from 35.0% in 2019, but not enough to change their ranking.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,307
- Mississippi is the third-hardest state to get approved for social security disability. Mississippi ranked the third-lowest by social security disability approval rates in both 2020 and 2019.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 38.5% in 2020, a slight improvement from 36.6% in 2019, but not enough to change their ranking.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,201
- Texas is the fourth-hardest state to get approved for social security disability.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 39.0% in 2020, up from 37.7% in 2019.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,241
- Florida is the fifth-hardest state to get approved for social security disability.
- This state has an SSDI approval rate of 39.1% in 2020 and an approval rate of 39.3% in 2019.
- The average monthly benefit for SSDI beneficiaries is $1,281
2020 SSDI approval rankings
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|Rank||State||2020 approval rate||2020 average monthly benefit||% change in approval rate||2019 approval rate||2019 rank|
SSDI facts and stats
The national average of people applying for social security disability insurance (SSDI) claims is only 45.22% in 2020 (excluding December), higher than 44.18% in 2019. The SSDI approval rate increased every year since a low of 39.28% in 2015.
On average, SSDI beneficiaries were awarded $1,257.65 in December 2019. Spouses received $362.14 and children received $390.92 on average. Generally, it takes almost a year before applicants receive approval or denial.
Awards to disabled workers (679,449) accounted for 89% of awards to all disabled beneficiaries (761,481). Payments to disabled beneficiaries totaled almost $11.7 billion in December. The largest category of diagnoses was musculoskeletal system and connective tissue diseases making up 33.6%, which includes osteoporosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, gout and lupus.
Should I get private disability insurance?
If you can afford private disability insurance, you might want to consider it. The average cost of disability insurance is 1-3% of your annual income, so if you earn $60,000 a year, you might pay between $600 and $1,800 a year. Private disability insurance typically pays out a higher monthly amount than SSDI, and depending on which plan you choose, can cover you for the short and long-term. This way, you’ll have income during an extended SSDI approval time or if you aren’t approved.
However, you need to have private disability insurance in place before you suffer a disability to receive payments. And if you have private disability insurance and SSDI, any payments you receive from SSDI may be deducted from your private disability payments once you’re approved.
Our finder.com calculation of the SSDI approval rate for each state was based on:
- The number of determinations (a finding made by a state agency)
- The number of allowances (favorable determinations i.e. approved claims)
for initial SSDI claims based on the Social Security Administration’s State Agency Monthly Workload Data. Our yearly calculations were based on monthly totals for each calendar year. Allowances can refer to either fully or partially favorable determinations.
We calculated the average monthly SSDI benefit based on the amount of disability benefits in current-payment status and the number of beneficiaries receiving disability during December 2019. For our analysis, we looked only at disabled workers who were receiving benefits and excluded spouses and children.
For all media inquiries, please contact:
Chelsea Wells-Barrett, PR, Media Relations and Communications
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