Georgia Disability BenefitsUpdated May 24, 2021 Social Security Disability
Georgia residents with disabilities have access to financial assistance at both the state and federal levels. Federal programs include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both programs are funded and overseen by the Social Security Administration (SSA), but the applications are administered at the state level.
The Georgia Disability Adjudication Services (DAS) receives all applications for review and determines who meets the specified criteria. This agency works under the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA).
Georgians also have access to Medicaid, unemployment insurance, or help through the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD).
DBHDD provides resources to those with intellectual or developmental disabilities including residential care, independent living support for disabled adults, as well as deaf disability services. If you’re a student with a disability, the Georgia Department of Education also has a program to help special populations with assistive technology and classroom support.
Facts About Georgia
About 28% of Georgia’s population has a disability of one kind or another. The highest percentage of these fall into mobility or cognition-related disabilities, followed by independent living (those unable to complete daily errands), hearing, vision, and self-care.
Even though over a quarter of the state’s population suffers from a disability, only 3.9% receive Social Security benefits. Though the requirements for qualifying for SSI and SSDI benefits are limited in scope, many more Georgians may be eligible for disability benefits.
How To Qualify for SSDI in Georgia
Eligibility requirements for Social Security disability benefits are the same across the country, regardless of what state you live in. To qualify, you’ll need to supply supporting documentation and medical records. Many applicants find they must go through one or more steps of appeals to finally get their disability claim approved.
The two main requirements regard the severity of your disability and the length of time you’ve paid into the Social Security tax system.
The most crucial requirement is that your disability must be considered severe enough to impact your ability to work for at least 12 months or is expected to end in death. The SSA has made a comprehensive list of all the disabilities it will approve for disability insurance benefits, and your disability must be listed here. There is a chance that you may be able to qualify even if your disability isn’t listed, but it’s much more likely if it is.
Second, you must show that you’ve contributed to Social Security with an adequate work history, which typically means 10 years of employment. However, there are some exemptions to this rule if your disability is deemed severe enough that you haven’t been able to work in any capacity.
It’s important to note that some people who receive federal disability benefits may still be able to work, though there are income limits. This cap, known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), is different based on your disability. For a blind person, the cap is $2,190 a month. For an otherwise disabled person, the cap is $1,310.
If you are currently receiving workers' compensation, it may affect your eligibility. Those working are also protected under legislation such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and other laws intended to provide equal opportunity for disabled people in the workforce. This means your employer must make any reasonable accommodation to help you complete your duties.
How To Apply for SSDI in Georgia
The application process for Social Security Disability occurs in one of three ways: in person, over the phone, or online. Those who want to apply in person can do so at their local Social Security field office.
In Georgia, there are 33 offices to choose from listed below. You can apply online at the federal Social Security website, or over the phone at 800-772-1213.
When you apply, you’ll need to provide personal information about you and your family, as well as documentation of marriages, divorces, or military service. You will also need to show medical records supporting your disability claim including contact information for doctors, clinics, or other health care providers.
How To Appeal a Denial in Georgia
In Georgia, a first-time applicant is only approved 23% of the time, meaning most must people go through the appeals process. Each stage of appeals must be made within 60 days of the preceding denial to be considered.
The first stage is called reconsideration, and 12% of applicants will be approved. Here your application is reviewed by a new representative who inspects and ensures that no errors were made.
If your reconsideration was denied, you can request a disability hearing with an administrative law judge. There are seven Hearing and Appeals Offices in Georgia, and your hearing will be scheduled at the closest office. Many people wish to bring additional supporting documentation or witnesses and seek legal advice from a disability lawyer to aid in their case. The good news is that 54% of cases are approved after the appeal hearing. You can improve your chances of success by hiring a disability attorney.
The third level of the appeals process is to apply for reexamination online with the Social Security Appeals Council. This council reviews all lower determinations to see if a mistake was made.
The final level of appeal is filing a lawsuit at the district federal court in Georgia. Most people will employ a law firm at this stage.
More Georgia Benefits
Georgia residents who make an SSDI claim will also be evaluated to see if they qualify for SSI. SSI is another federal insurance program intended for those with lower incomes. SSI benefits are available to those with disabilities, who are blind, and those 65+ with or without a disability. All applicants must meet low-income and limited resource requirements.
Those who receive SSI payments are automatically eligible for Georgia Medicaid. Medicaid is a joint federal and state health insurance program for low-income individuals. Some recipients of Georgia Medicaid will have small copay obligations, but many people are exempt from this such as pregnant women, members under the age of 21, and those in nursing homes or hospice care.
Those who need temporary financial assistance due to the loss of a job may be eligible for Georgia Unemployment benefits, a program run by the Georgia Department of Labor. This program can replace a portion of lost income for up to 26 weeks. The current weekly maximum payment is $365.
Georgia Social Security Offices
|SSA Field Office Locations in Georgia|
|Atlanta-D/T SSA Office||401 W Peachtree St NW|
Suite 2860 Flr 28
Atlanta, GA 30308
|Savannah SSA Office||430 Mall Blvd|
Savannah, GA 31406
|Albany SSA Office||1522 W 3rd Ave|
Albany, GA 31707
|Macon SSA Office||3530 Riverside Drive|
Macon, GA 31210
|Athens SSA Office||1650 Prince Avenue|
Athens, GA 30606
|Columbus SSA Office||7263 North Lake Dr|
Columbus, GA 31909
|Augusta SSA Office||115 Robert C Daniel Jr Pkwy|
Augusta, GA 30909
|Waycross SSA Office||303 Isabella St|
Waycross, GA 31501
|Lagrange SSA Office||1300 Lafayette Pkwy|
Lagrange, GA 30241
|Rome SSA Office||480 Riverside Pkwy NE|
Rome, GA 30161
|Milledgeville SSA Office||109 Cypress Corners|
Milledgeville, GA 31061
|Thomasville SSA Office||1916 Smith Avenue|
Thomasville, GA 31792
|Gainesville SSA Office||2565 Thompson Brdg Rd|
Gainesville, GA 30501
|Valdosta SSA Office||3149 Perimeter Park Ln|
Valdosta, GA 31602
|Brunswick SSA Office||134 Juniper Ct|
Brunswick, GA 31520
|Dublin SSA Office||919 Hillcrest Pkwy|
Dublin, GA 31021
|Griffin SSA Office||1548 Flynt St|
Griffin, GA 30223
|Southlake SSA Office||6670 Merchants Way|
Morrow, GA 30260
|Dalton SSA Office||301 Point North Pl|
Dalton, GA 30720
|Kennesaw SSA Office||200 Chastain Center Blvd NW|
Kennesaw, GA 30144
|Gwinnett SSA Office||4365 Shackleford Rd|
Norcross, GA 30093
|Decatur SSA Office||3554 Covington Hwy|
Decatur, GA 30032
|Atlanta West SSA Office||3800 Camp Creek Pkwy|
Bldg 2400 Suite 122
Atlanta, GA 30331
|Statesboro SSA Office||1050 Brannen St|
Statesboro, GA 30461
|Toccoa SSA Office||155 Big A Rd|
Toccoa, GA 30577
|Villa Rica SSA Office||908 S Carroll Rd|
Villa Rica, GA 30180
|Winder SSA Office||389 East Broad St|
Winder, GA 30680
|Cordele SSA Office||510 E 15th Ave|
Cordele, GA 31015
|Warner Robins SSA Office||220 Carl Vinson Pkwy|
Warner Robins, GA 31088
|Tifton SSA Office||732 2nd St W|
Tifton, GA 31794
|Covington SSA Office||9180 Covington Bypass Rd|
Covington, GA 30014
|Vidalia SSA Office||104 W Third St|
Vidalia, GA 30474
|Newnan SSA Office||246 Bullsboro Dr Suite B|
Newnan, GA 30263
Georgia Hearing and Appeal Offices
Georgia is in Region 4 (Atlanta), which services Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
|Region 4 - SSA Office of Hearing Operations in Georgia|
|SSA Hearing Office - Atlanta||61 Forsyth Street, S.W.|
Atlanta Fed Ctr Ste 20T10
Atlanta, GA 30303
|SSA Hearing Office - Atlanta||245 Peachtree Center Avenue|
Suite 500, Marquis 1
Atlanta, GA 30303
|SSA Hearing Office - Alpharetta||4100 Old Milton Parkway|
Alpharetta, GA 30005
|SSA Hearing Office - Augusta||115 Robert C. Daniel, Jr. Pkwy|
Augusta, GA 30909
|SSA Hearing Office - Covington||10155 Eagle Drive|
Covington, GA 30014
|SSA Hearing Office - Macon||484 Mulberry Street Suite 500|
Macon, GA 31201-7929
|SSA Hearing Office - Savannah||8 Southern Oaks Court|
Savannah, GA 31405