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Things to Remember When Applying for Social Security Disability

by Megan Roth5 min read
Things to Remember When Applying for Social Security Disability

Two of the largest programs of the U.S. Federal government are the Supplemental Security Income Disability fund and the Social Security Disability Insurance, which both assist millions of disabled Americans to get monetary benefits. When you are applying for social security disability benefits, there is a disability determination process that you need to undergo that will give you information on when to apply, how to apply, and other important details that you should know.


Types of Benefits for Disabled Americans

The U.S. government gives out benefits for disabled Americans through two programs: the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits for people who are unable to work because they have a medical condition that could last for a year or more.

SSDI gives money to you and family members if your working days are sufficient to qualify and if you paid enough Social Security taxes while employed. On the other hand, SSI provides financial help based on financial need.

applying for social security disability

Criteria for Getting Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have a disability and you want to apply for Social Security benefits, you have to meet several medical criteria in order to qualify. When it comes to the word disability, Federal law is very strict with its definition. Social Security will not provide benefits for people with partial or short-term disability. SSA will collect pertinent medical information and they would have to make a decision about whether or not you meet their definition of what it constitutes to be labelled “disabled.”

In order to get disability benefits, you also need to pass two earnings tests. The first test is called a recent work test, which is based on how old you are when you became disabled.  The second test is called the duration of work test.  This is to provide information on whether you worked long enough under Social Security.

There are specific guidelines on how much work you need to qualify for social security disability benefits.  They are all specified on the SSA website. For instance, if you become disabled on or before you turn 24 years old, then you need 1.5 years of work during the three-year period when your disability began. For more information, refer to the website.


Process When Applying for Social Security Disability

There are two ways to apply.  You can apply online or call SSA’s toll-free number and make an appointment to file a disability claim in a local office nearest you. Once you get in touch with SSA, they will send you a Disability Starter Kit which will be your guide for the claims interview.  Processing of your claim could take from three to five months. Take note of the following mandatory information that you need to provide: your social security number, your birth certificate, laboratory and test results, names and dosage of all medications you take, medical records and phone numbers of doctors, therapists, hospitals, and clinics. You also need to submit a summary of your most recent work and the type of work you did there. You are also required to fill out other forms.