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Social Security

If you are unable to work due to a disability, you may be eligible to receive SSI or SSDI.

What is social security?

Social Security provides a source of income when you retire or if you cannot work due to a disability. If you have a disability or are 65 or older, you may be eligible for benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


-Provides you with money to cover basics like food, clothing and housing if you are 65 or older or have a disability, and have little to no income

-Federal SSI benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are often supplemented by state programs

-In most states, an SSI recipient will automatically qualify for health care coverage through Medicaid.


-Pays benefits to you if you have a disability and worked enough years to qualify and paid Social Security taxes

-If your application is approved, there is a five-month waiting period for benefits to start

-A person with SSDI will qualify for Medicare after 24 months of receiving disability payments

SSDI vs SSI.jpg

How to Apply

To be eligible for either program, a doctor must deem that you are permanently disabled and unable to work at ANY type of job. You cannot both work and apply for SSI or SSDI.

  • You may qualify for both benefits if you have both limited income/resources and a work history

  • You can apply online, by phone or in person

  • Gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the Adult Disability Checklist. It will help you gather the information and documents you need to complete the application.

info needed to Apply

Continuation of SSI

  • Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.

  • The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate).

  • Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.

  • Your bank or other financial institution's Routing Transit Number and the account number.

Information About Your Medical Condition

  • Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.

  • Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:

  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.

  • Names of medicines, the amount you are taking, and who prescribed them.

  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.

Information About Your Work:

  • The amount of money earned last year and this year.

  • The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year.

  • The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968.

  • A list of the jobs (up to five) that you had in the 15 years before you became unable to work and the dates you worked at those jobs.

  • Information about any workers' compensation, black lung, and similar benefits you filed, or intend to file for. These benefits can:

  • Be temporary or permanent.

  • Include annuities and lump sum payments that you received in the past.

  • Be paid by your employer or your employer's insurance carrier, private agencies, or federal, state, or other government or public agencies.

  • Be referred to as:

  • Workers' Compensation.

  • Black Lung Benefits.

  • Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation.

  • Civil Service (Disability) Retirement.

  • Federal Employees' Retirement.

  • Federal Employees' Compensation.

  • State or local government disability insurance benefits.

  • Disability benefits from the military. These include military retirement pensions based on disability but not Veterans' Administration (VA) benefits.


  • Along with the information listed above, we may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth.

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.

  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968.

  • W-2 forms(s) or self-employment tax returns for last year.

  • Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results.

  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers' compensation-type benefits you received.

After you Apply

Wait for an Application Response

When the state agency makes a determination on your case, you’ll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. It generally takes three to six months for an initial decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, they'll let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.

Check Your Application Status

You can check the status of your application online using your personal my Social Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Appeal a Decision

You have the right to appeal any decision about whether you’re entitled to benefits. You must request an appeal in writing within 60 days after you receive the notice of the decision. There are four levels of appeal:

  • Reconsideration.

  • Hearing by an administrative law judge.

  • Review by the Appeals Council.

  • Federal Court Review.

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