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Hawaii Disability Benefits

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Social Security Disability Insurance in the State of Hawaii


Disabilities are often unexpected and put a sudden strain on your financial resources, especially if your disability prevents you from working. If you are living in Hawaii and are unable to work for at least one year because of a medical condition, federal programs like the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can provide you with the financial assistance you need to get through this period.

DU Infographics Hawaii State

There are several reasons why people may suffer from a disability that is so severe that it prevents them from earning a livelihood.  In Hawaii, mental health disorders are the most common reason for a disability constituting 46% of those on the SSDI beneficiary list.  Other reasons include diseases related to the musculoskeletal system as well as the nervous and circulatory systems.


If you suffer from a disability in Hawaii you may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits if you meet the eligibility criteria below:


  • You have a medical condition that matches a listing in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Blue Book.
  • You have a medical condition that is equivalent to a listing in the Blue Book.
  • You cannot work at any substantial gainful activity for at least one year.
  • You have earned enough work credits.


In Hawaii about 35% of the applicants are approved for SSDI benefits at the initial application level.


Filing a Social Security Disability Insurance Claim in Hawaii


The percentage of disability prevalence in Hawaii 10.7% . However, not all cases of disability qualify for SSDI benefits. SSDI benefits are approved in two ways.


The first way is if your medical condition exactly meets a medical condition in the Blue Book. If this is your case, your chances of approval are very high and you can look forward to quick and easy access to SSDI benefits.


The second way SSDI benefits are approved is when your condition does not meet any listing in the Blue Book. While the Blue Book is regularly updated with new medical conditions, it does not contain all the medical conditions that can cause disability.  This is why most people who apply for SSDI benefits will receive benefits through what is called a medical vocational allowance. In order to determine whether you qualify for a medical vocational allowance, the SSA will look at your medical records and the past 15 years of your work history. They will also evaluate your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). This will help them assess your mental and physical capabilities.  The SSA will determine whether your condition allows you to go back to your work or whether your skills can be transferred to any other job. If your condition does not allow you to work at any job, the SSA will approve benefits through a medical vocational allowance.


The entire process can take 3 to 5 months, even more if you are required to undergo further diagnostics. Delays are not uncommon. It can be due to a backlog in the SSA systems. If you haven’t provided complete or accurate information on your form, the SSA may take time to retrieve correct information. Knowing how the SSDI claims process works can help you better understand the importance of providing detailed and accurate information. You might want to consider getting professional guidance from Disability United even at the initial application level to improve your chances of getting an approval at the earliest possible stage.


Click here to know more about the SSDI application process or watch the informative video below.




In the state of Hawaii there are 5 Social Security offices. You can apply online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office near you. While the SSA receives your application, it will transfer your file to a state agency, usually called the Disability Determination Services (DDS). Here, your case will be assigned to a Social Security Disability examiner who has been trained to make a determination on your claim based on the information you provide. You may be called for an interview via telephone if you are not able to come in person or you may be requested to undergo further medical examinations.


On average, only 35% of SSDI claims are awarded benefits at the initial application level in Hawaii. The majority will receive a denial notice stating the reason why their claim was denied. Whether the denial is based on medical or non-medical reasons, you have a right to question the denial decision through the process of appeals, which consists of 4 stages.


  1. Reconsideration: This first stage of the appeals process is similar to the initial application process and is conducted by the same state agency—the DDS. The only real difference is that another disability examiner reviews your case. The average rate of approval here is 16% in Hawaii.
  2. The Court Hearing: Your case will be presented before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) in an office that is usually not more than 75 miles from your home. Due to the volume of pending appeals, the date for a hearing may take several months to be scheduled. Hearings may also be scheduled through a video conference. The ALJ will consider the evidence you have provided and give considerable weight to the testimony of your treatment physicians. The approval rate at the disability hearing level is 67.1%.
  3. The Appeals Council: The Council is headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia in the SSA’s Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR). It will review the decision of the ALJ itself or send it to another ALJ.
  4. Federal Review: Most claimants use the first two appeals but do not move forward to the third and fourth appeal unless they have a strong case to prove that they were unfairly treated at all the previous levels. You’re usually advised to re-apply for SSDI benefits.


An appeal must be made within 60 days of the date of the denial notice. If you do not meet the deadline, you will need to start the application process all over again. It is important to submit any additional evidence you may have before the hearing date. Hiring an advocate, who specializes in SSDI claims, can not only help you navigate the SSDI grids and the outcome usually results in a higher rate of success. Advocates at Disability United are available to you free of cost. They will gather the evidence that is needed for your case to garner a positive response, saving you time and anxiety.


Find out if you quality to receive benefits by filling out our free disability evaluation form.


If you suffer from a medical condition that has or will put you out of work for more than a year, then don’t wait to apply.  Why not start your application for SSDI benefits today? Fill the form on the right and let us help you get the benefits you deserve.


Helpful Resources for those with Disabilities in Hawaii


If you’re not qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance or would like additional support, the Hawaii State Administration offers several other programs to help people with different disabilities. Follow the links below to know more about these helpful programs:


  • Hawaii: Health and Disability Programs: This website provides a wide range of resources for people with developmental disabilities looking for assistance in job training, residential services, and more.
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation: This program is designed to help those with disabilities find job by preparing them through training, support and career placement.
  • The LIHEAP assistance program: This is a federally funded energy bill assistance program. You may be able to receive financial help in the form of a grant or credit on an account. Low-income homes that have a disabled family member, an elderly person, or a young child are given priority.
  • SNAP Benefits: This federal program may help seniors, low-income workers, those who are disabled, and others put nutritious food on the table. Benefits are given every month through an electronic benefits card which can be used at authorized local food stores.