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 Wisconsin – 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin below.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits in Wisconsin – 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 Wisconsin 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)
Wisconsin37.8%19.9%53.2%
National Average35.1%12.5%53.9%
State Difference:2.7%7.4%-0.6%

As the table shows, Wisconsin has a higher approval rating for Initial Applications and Reconsideration Applications but just a touch lower at the Hearing level. The approval rating for the Hearing level is only 0.6 percentage points below the national average, so it is very close.

Wisconsin Initial Application Approval Over Time

Initial Application Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Wisconsin37.8%36.1%35.9%35.7%38.0%37.4%37.4%35.5%37.2%
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, Wisconsin has been consistently ahead of the national average for Initial Applications going back to at least 2010. In 2018, Wisconsin ranked 24th in the nation in terms of percentage approval of Initial Applications. While approval rates have remained relatively the same in Wisconsin over the last few years, they still average higher than the national average. If you are thinking of applying for SSDI, don’t worry – there are multiple stages to the application process.

Wisconsin Reconsideration Approval Over Time

Reconsideration Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Wisconsin19.9%19.9%19.4%13.9%16.0%16.2%18.4%14.0%15.3%
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, Wisconsin has consistently outperformed the national average when it comes to Approvals at the Reconsideration level. In 2018, Wisconsin ranked 8th 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 in the next level, the Hearing.

Wisconsin Hearings Approval Over Time

Hearing Approval Rate201820172016201520142013201220112010
Wisconsin53.2%56.5%52.9%48.4%42.7%42.3%46.1%50.7%59.0%
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, Wisconsin has under performed compared to the national average when it comes to approvals at the Hearing level. Though in the past Wisconsin has been well below the average, there was a dramatic increase in approvals since 2014. In 2018, Wisconsin ranked 26th in the nation for highest percentage of approvals at Hearings.

However, as you’ll see below, all individual hearing offices in Wisconsin are not the same – each office has its own approval rates, and almost as importantly, waiting times. Which hearing office your case is assigned to in Wisconsin may have a significant bearing on your chances for approval.

Also worthy of note is the fact 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.

Wisconsin SSDI Hearing Wait Times & Approval By Office

Wisconsin is part of the Social Security Administration’s “Region 5,” which is headquartered in Chicago. There are 2 hearing offices in Wisconsin. You can see waiting times for hearings & case dispositions for each office below, with comparisons to Wisconsin and 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%
Wisconsin Average16.156343.2%
MADISON17.858362.4%
MILWAUKEE14.354336.5%

As the table here and the chart below indicate, in 2019, Wisconsin as a whole has longer hearing wait times than the national average. However, this is due to their Madison office bringing the average up. The average wait time for that office is 17.8 months where as the Milwaukee office averages a wait time of 14.3 months. Even so, Wisconsin ranks 38th in wait times among the nation. Wisconsin as a whole averages below the national average in average Approval rates, but there is bi difference in the offices. The Madison office has a whooping 62.4% approval rate while the Milwaukee office is at 36.5% approval rating.

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.

Hearing Offices in Wisconsin & The SSA Offices They Serve

These are the “Office of Hearing Operations” offices in Wisconsin. These offices are 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.

Hearing Office Region 5 Madison SSA, OHO
3rd Floor 2501 W. Beltline Highway Madison, Wisconsin 53713
(877) 600-2854 • (608) 271-7688 • (877) 486-2936
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WISCONSIN: Eau Claire, Janesville, La Crosse, Lancaster, Madison, Portage, Rhinelander, Rice Lake, Wausau, Wisconsin Rapids

Hearing Office Region 5 Milwaukee SSA, OHO
Room 300W 310 West Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203
(866) 495-0039 • (414) 297-1993 • (877) 486-2940
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MICHIGAN: Escanaba, Houghton, Ironwood, Marquette, Sault St. Marie
WISCONSIN: Appleton, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, Greenfield, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Marinette, Milwaukee (Downtown), Milwaukee (Mitchell), Milwaukee (North), Milwaukee (West), Oshkosh, Racine, Sheboygan, Waukesha, West Bend


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List of Social Security Administration Field Offices in Wisconsin

Office NameLocationAddressCityStatePhone Number
PORTAGE WISUITE 1002875 VILLAGE RDPORTAGEWI(888) 875-1681
MILW NORTH WI6300 W FOND DU LAC AVEMILWAUKEEWI(800) 772-1213
MADISON WI6011 ODANA RDMADISONWI(866) 770-2262
GREEN BAY WI1561 DOUSMAN ST.GREEN BAYWI(888) 862-4811
FOND DU LAC WISUITE 100180 KNIGHTS WAYFOND DU LACWI(888) 717-1526
EAU CLAIRE WI4120 OAKWOOD HILLS PKYEAU CLAIREWI(866) 815-2924
RACINE WI4020 DURAND AVERACINEWI(866) 270-8629
LA CROSSE WISTE 100210 7TH ST SLA CROSSEWI(866) 770-2345
WAUSAU WI352 GRAND AVEWAUSAUWI(855) 269-9186
SHEBOYGAN WI1137 N 26TH STSHEBOYGANWI(877) 635-3549
SUPERIOR WI4221 TOWER AVESUPERIORWI(877) 628-6578
OSHKOSH WI400 CITY CENTER STE BOSHKOSHWI(877) 445-0834
JANESVILLE WI222 N ACADEMY STJANESVILLEWI(877) 850-7826
KENOSHA WI5624 6TH AVEKENOSHAWI(866) 334-4997
MILW DT WISUITE 260310 W WISCONSIN AVEMILWAUKEEWI(800) 772-1213
APPLETON WI607 W NORTHLAND AVEAPPLETONWI(877) 694-5495
WAUKESHA WIFIRST FLOOR707 N GRAND AVENUEWAUKESHAWI(800) 772-1213
WISCONSIN RAPIDS2213 8TH ST SOUTHWISCONSIN RAPIDSWI(855) 686-1465
LANCASTER WI175 W ALONA LNLANCASTERWI(877) 405-7841
MARINETTE WI2023 LAKE PARK DRMARINETTEWI(888) 329-5722
MANITOWOC WI1603 MIRRO DRMANITOWOCWI(877) 409-8430
RHINELANDER WI2023 NAVAJO STRHINELANDERWI(888) 868-8185
RICE LAKE WI1703 W KNAPP STREETRICE LAKEWI(888) 823-3923
WEST BEND WI1145 VERN STREETWEST BENDWI(888) 655-0843
MILW-WEST WI5020 W NORTH AVEMILWAUKEEWI(800) 772-1213
GREENFIELD WI8455 W LAYTON AVEGREENFIELDWI(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.