Social Security

Disability benefits – Programs and how to apply


Disability benefits are one of the most important elements of the social protection systems. It addresses the needs of disabled people and their families and strives to provide basic needs for them. Along with financial assistance, some programs also provide medical assistance for disabled persons. If one is disabled and needs to avail of these benefits, they can find everything they need to begin their application process right here.

Types of Disability Programs

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    With SSI, a disabled or elderly person qualifies for a minimum basic financial assistance. These programs are specially designed for people with little to no income. Children with a disability and people over the age of 65 are also eligible for this program.
  • Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
    The SSDI is a program for people who have a working history and are now disabled and unable to work. To qualify for this insurance program, one must provide a document stating their disability and their work experience. Depending on the severity of the client’s condition and their work, insurance is provided to them.

What do SSI and SSDI cover?
The SSI and SSDI both cover monthly payments required for basic facilities like housing, food, and clothing. Not everyone receives the same amount of money. The amount usually depends on one’s area and housing facilities. Basically, the organization provides one with sufficient funds to carry out their day-to-day activities depending on their needs. In many states, SSI also provides medical assistance that can be used to pay off hospital bills, doctor’s fees, and various other medical costs.

Who can apply for disability benefits?
The people who can apply for disability benefits need to meet the following requirements:

  • Must be over the age of 18
  • Must not be receiving benefits on their own Social Security record
  • Are unable to work due to a disability or illness that is going to last for over 12 months or may result in death.
  • They have not had their application denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.

What does one need to apply?
The organization will require the following information:

  • Personal information: Personal information including one’s Social Security number and birthdate along with their spouse’s/ex-spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birthdate. If there are any minor children, their names and dates of birth are also required. If one wants the benefits deposited electronically, they must also specify the bank account number and the bank’s Routing Transit Number.
  • Professional information: One’s salary amount along with their employer’s name from the last two years is required. A copy of one’s Social Security statement and information about any workers’ compensation or benefits that one intends to or has applied for. A list of up to five jobs within the past 15 years is required. Additionally, the start and end dates of any military service one may have done before the year 1968 must be submitted.
  • Disability and medical information: Detailed information regarding one’s disability, including the names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatments provided by any doctors, hospitals, and clinics. Moreover, names of medicines one is currently taking along with the name of the doctor who prescribed it are also required.

How to apply?
The Social Security website provides an elaborate checklist containing everything one needs to apply for disability benefits. One can apply using any one of the three ways: online, on the phone, and by visiting the nearest Social Security office. When it comes to applying online, it is important to remember that one can only do so if their application was not rejected in the last 60 days. For children, one can start the application process online. Nevertheless, a few sections need to be completed either in person or on the phone. Before visiting an office, it is always advisable to call and book an appointment to ensure one does not have to stand in lines.

When must one apply?
It is advisable to apply for the program as soon as one gets disabled. This is because there is a five-month waiting period which means that the money will only start coming in after the sixth month of disability. However, persons with a disability caused due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis do not have any waiting period.

What is the application process like?
Once a person submits their application and the required documents, Social Security will review their application. During the reviewing process, they may call one in case they need more information or documents. After a thorough evaluation, the case gets sent to the Disability Determination Services office in the applicant’s state. The Disability Determination Services ultimately makes a decision.

What is Advance Designation?
Advance Designation allows adults and minors to select one or more individuals to serve as payees. They also allow this option in advance. This is in case of a situation in which if a person realizes that they are not in a position to make decisions, someone trustworthy will be doing it for them. These individuals will be fully evaluated at the time they need to step in. The preferred individual’s details can be mentioned during the application process.

What must be done if one’s application gets rejected?
Sometimes, an SSI/SSDI application evaluator may deny one’s application. However, if one believes that they have been wrongly denied and that they truly qualify for the benefits, they can always find an advocate that specializes in SSI to represent their case.