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This page contains information about how to get disability benefits from the US government. You can usually apply online at but watch the video and read the information on this page first

Social Security is very strict when it comes to providing additional income in case of disability. Remember they don’t pay for partial disability or for short-term disability. And they only pay when you have a disability so severe that you are not able to perform any profitable work, so it is important to provide all the necessary medical evidence.

There are two programs available from the Social Security Administration to help people with disabilities. For those who have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough, they offer the Social Security Disability Insurance program. For people with financial needs, the Administration offers the Supplemental Security Income program.

Obviously, when you apply for either program, the Administration will collect all necessary evidence to make sure you are not eligible to perform any other work or that the disability will prevent you from working will last for at least a year. Remember that the Administration does not pay you for short-term disability. The disability examiners will make a decision based on all the evidence collected. The administration may need additional medical examinations at no cost to you to make sure they have enough evidence to make the right decision.

If you want to apply for disability benefits, you can use the online application.

What are the different types of disability protection provided the Social Security?

According to the Social Security Administration, there are eight types of protection provided by the Administration.

Monthly cash benefits for a disabled worker and family. Benefits for the disabled worker are often referred to as “disability insurance benefits.”

Monthly cash benefits for the needy, blind, or disabled individuals. This also includes blind or disabled children under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

The establishment of a period of disability for a disabled worker. This protects against the loss of, or the reduction in, the disability amount or retirement insurance benefits for the worker or the worker's survivors. The establishment of a period of disability excludes the time that the worker is disabled when determining either insured status or the amount of benefits. This protects the worker since it is likely that the worker does not have substantial earnings when disabled.

The requirements for disabled worker's benefits and for establishing a period of disability are nearly the same. A worker entitled to either one is usually entitled to both.

Monthly cash benefits for a disabled widow(er) or disabled surviving divorced spouse. These benefits apply to disabled widow(er)'s (or disabled surviving divorced spouses) age 50-59 who meet the other requirements for entitlement to widow(er)'s insurance benefits.

Monthly cash benefits for a disabled child of a worker entitled to disabled worker's or retirement benefits or of an insured worker who died. These benefits are payable as early as age 18 and there is no upper age limit. They are referred to as childhood disability benefits because the child must have become disabled before reaching age 22.

Vocational rehabilitation services, employment services, or other support services for a Social Security disability beneficiary or a SSI disabled or blind recipient. These services help beneficiaries obtain the services and assistance they need to go to work. A State vocational rehabilitation agency or an employment network provides these services.

Hospital and supplementary medical insurance protection for:

A person under age 65 who has been entitled to disability benefits as a disabled worker, widow(er), or adult child for at least 24 months.

Note: The person must be entitled to benefits on the basis of insured status established under the Social Security Act. This does not include credits earned under the program of any other country.

A person who:

Has chronic kidney failure requiring a regular course of dialysis or a kidney transplant; or

Is disabled due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is entitled to disabled worker benefits; and

Is fully insured, currently insured, or entitled to monthly insurance payments because of work covered by the Social Security Act or the Railroad Retirement Act. This includes the spouse or dependent child of a person who is insured or entitled to monthly benefits payable under these Acts; or

Is disabled due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is entitled to disabled widow(er)'s or disabled adult child benefits.

A person whose disability did not end prior to December 1, 1980. The beneficiary may have his or her medical coverage continued for a maximum of 24 months after entitlement ends based on disability, provided medical recovery has not occurred.

Note: After this period, a person may elect to purchase premium Medicare coverage. This is provided if he or she continues to have a disabling impairment, files during an enrollment period, and his or her premium-free Medicare coverage ended because of substantial gainful activity.

Prescription drug benefit to a person entitled to hospital insurance or enrolled in supplementary medical insurance.

Is it necessary to file an application?

  • You must file an application to
  • Become entitled to benefits;
  • Establish a period of disability; or
  • Become eligible for Supplemental Security Income payments.

How to apply?

You should filly out the application on a form issued the Social Security Administration. You can file via the internet at, at a Social Security Office, or with any person authorized by the Social Security Administration to receive applications.

If I am 65 or older, do I have to file an application for hospital and medical insurance?

If you are 65 or older and entitled to benefits under Social Security or railroad retirement, you are automatically entitled to hospital and medical insurance. If you are not entitled, you need to file an application for hospital and medical insurance.


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Secure Ordering is not affiliated with or endorsed by any other government agency. Most Americans will need to file government documents at some time in their lives. While the government allows you to do this at no charge, is a private, paid service which aims to simplify the process by providing you with detailed instructions on how to complete and where to submit the necessary government forms. We are not a law firm and do not provide any legal, financial or accounting advice.

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