Everyone’s experience applying for Social Security Disability benefits will be unique. Part of this is because everyone’s individual medical and work history is different. But, potential applicants should also know that each state – like Hawaii – has its own story to tell in terms of social security disability benefit approval rates at each stage of the process, as well as waiting times at the hearing stage.

Why is State-by-State Information Important?

Specialized disability advocates (like us here at Citizens Disability) and Hawaii social security disability attorneys know all too well how important it is to understand that every state is different. It’s very helpful to know what the trends are, how long the wait times are from office to office, and what the different rates of approvals are.

Citizens Disability takes a data-driven approach to helping our clients. We want to make sure that we’re giving our clients the best possible advice at every step in the application process. We also work very hard to present the best possible case for each of our clients. Bringing together data from a wide variety of sources – including data like this, which comes from the Social Security Administration – allows us to make smart decisions when we present cases for our clients.

Finally, this information can be very helpful to applicants. Applying for social security benefits is likely a new experience for most applicants, and having an idea of what they can expect from the process can help them be engaged and involved participants with their advocates.

While your own journey may be different than the trends you see here, these tables and charts can help you understand what, on average, you can expect.

You will also find location and contact information for all the offices in Hawaii below.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Hawaii – What You Need To Know

There are generally three stages in the application process for Social Security Disability benefits: initial application, reconsideration, and the hearing. In this table, you can see how Hawaii compares to the national average (all states in America) when it comes to approval rates at each of those stages.

Initial Application (L1)Reconsideration (L2)Hearing (L3)
Hawaii34.4%10.8%71.6%
National Average35.6%12.6%53.9%
State Difference:-1.1%-1.9%17.7%

As the table shows, Hawaii comes in a little bit behind the national average when it comes to approval rates at the Initial Application and Reconsideration stages of the process. However, Hawaii is far, far ahead of the national average when it comes to approvals at Hearings. In 2018, Hawaii led the nation in terms of approval rate at Hearings!

Hawaii Initial Application Approval Over Time

Initial Application Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Hawaii34.4%37.0%31.9%32.6%35.3%34.6%35.4%38.8%47.7%
National Average35.6%34.7%33.7%33.1%32.8%33.0%33.4%33.2%35.1%
Swipe left & right to see the whole table

As the table and the below chart show, Hawaii’s approval rates at the Initial Application came down steeply in 2010, and then criss-crossed the national average over the next few years, finishing 2018 slightly behind the national average. In 2018, Hawaii ranked 35th in the nation in terms of percentage approval of Initial Applications. While approval rates have decined in Hawaii over the last few years they still are fairly close to the national average – only about 1 in 3 Initial Applications are approved. If you are thinking of applying for SSDI, don’t worry – there are multiple stages to the application process.

Hawaii Reconsideration Approval Over Time

Reconsideration Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Hawaii10.8%17.0%12.2%13.0%14.1%13.8%16.2%19.1%24.5%
National Average12.6%13.1%12.8%11.8%11.0%11.4%11.9%11.4%12.5%
Swipe left & right to see the whole table

As the table and the below chart indicate, Hawaii has, similar to Initial Applications, come down quite a bit since 2010 and is now a few points behind the national average when it comes to approvals at the Reconsideration level. In 2018, Hawaii ranked 41st in the nation for highest percentage of approvals at Reconsideration. However, as you can see, in general, the chances of winning approval at Reconsideration are not particularly high. That is why many applicants must continue on to the next level, the Hearing.

Hawaii Hearings Approval Over Time

Hearing Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Hawaii71.6%78.8%75.6%72.6%73.4%78.9%77.9%80.9%83.4%
National Average53.9%56.8%54.7%53.4%53.7%55.5%57.7%62.5%67.2%
Swipe left & right to see the whole table

As the table and the below chart indicate, Hawaii has consistently been far ahead of the national average when it comes to approvals at the Hearing level, even if it has come down a fair amount since 2010. That said, in 2018, Hawaii still ranked 1st in the nation for highest percentage of approvals at Hearings.

It is worthy to note that past performance is only one indicator of likely outcomes; as new data comes in, you might see that a state’s performance compared to the national average has either improved or weakened.

Hawaii SSDI Hearing Wait Times & Approval By Office

Hawaii is part of the Social Security Administration’s “Region 9,” which is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. There is 1 hearing office in Hawaii. You can see waiting times for hearings & case dispositions for this office below, with comparisons to the National Averages.

The “Hearing Wait Time (Months)” is, on average, how long it takes in between when an applicant asks for a Hearing and when that hearing occurs.

The “Average Disposition Time (Days)” is, on average, the number of days in between when an applicant asks for a Hearing, and when the Administrative Law Judge who hears their case actually makes a decision on that case.

The “Average Approval Rate” is percentage at which cases are decided in favor of the applicant.

Hearing Wait Time (Months)Average Disposition Time (Days)Average Approval Rate (2019)
National Average15.453452.7%
Hawaii Average16.857360.9%
HONOLULU16.857360.9%

As the table here and the chart below indicate, in 2019, the waiting times for Hearings and case disposition are somewhat longer than the national average, but the approval rates are significantly higher than the national average, by over 8 points. About 6 in 10 Hearings in 2019 in Hawaii are resulting in a successful outcome for applicants.

These waiting times and approval rates only highlight how important it can be to have a qualified representative – such as an Advocate from Citizens Disability – working on your case. The Government Accountability Office has done research that shows that an applicant who has a representative has an up to three times greater chance of being approved than a person who goes it alone.


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Hearing Offices in Hawaii & The SSA Offices They Serve

This is the “Office of Hearing Operations” office in Hawaii. This office is where hearings are scheduled and generally conducted. Each OHO office supports a number of regional Social Security Administration field offices. You are likely (but not guaranteed) to have your hearing scheduled with a Judge who works in the OHO office that supports the SSA field office nearest to you. Of course, in the case of applicants in Hawaii, almost all hearings will be held at the Honolulu office.

Hearing Office Region 9 Honolulu SSA, OHO
Prince Kuhio Federal Building
300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-303
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850
(855) 601-2479 • (808) 541-3536 • (877) 394-9246
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Social Security Offices Served:
AMERICAN SAMOA: Pago Pago, Saipan;
GUAM: Dededo and
HAWAII: Hilo, Honolulu, Kapolei, Lihue (Kauai), Wailuku (Maui)

List of Social Security Administration Field Offices in Hawaii

Office NameLocationAddressCityStatePhone Number
WAILUKU HISUITE 1252200 MAIN STREETWAILUKUHI(800) 772-1213
KAPOLEI HI 970 MANAWAI STREETKAPOLEIHI(800) 772-1213
HONOLULU HIRM 1-114 FED BLDG300 ALA MOANA BLVDHONOLULUHI(800) 772-1213
HILO HISUITE 710111 E PUAINAKO STHILOHI(800) 772-1213
LIHUE HISUITE 1054334 RICE STREETLIHUEHI(800) 772-1213
Swipe left & right to see the whole table

All data on this page is current as of July, 2019.

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About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call (800)492-3260.