What is Disability and How to apply for Disability



Go right to 8 step walkthrough of the disability benefits process


In this guide we will cover: What is social security - What is the social security process - How to apply



First we will look at what the difference is between SSI, SSD and SSDI

What is SSD?
Social Security Disability is for individuals that have worked 5 of the last 10 years and have accumulated enough quarters based on their age. A quarter is a credit towards Social Security (SS). You can earn 4 credits a year and 1 credit is earned for every $1360 made. For more information on how many credits are required based on your age to qualify for SSD please call: 800-722-1213

What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income is an income based benefit for individuals who have less than $2,000 in their bank account

What is SSDI?
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are for individuals who meet the requirements for both SSD and SSI  

Common questions about Social Security


How to apply for Social Security benefits?

To apply for SSI you will have to set up an appointment with your Social Security office to fill out the application. For SSD, we will help you even before you apply, or you can apply online here


Can you work and still collect Social Security Disability?

Yes! you can work, but you must be making less than $1,300 a month. 


Can you work and still collect SSI?

Yes, but the money you make monthly from working will be deducted from your SSI benefit.


What qualifies as a disability?

If you meet a listing (click here for social security disability listings) then you can automatically get SSD, SSI or SSDI. However it is often not cut and dry; you may need to go through the process with a lawyer and show that you meet a listing. If you don't meet a listing you can still meet the disability requirements. 


What is my social security disability benefit amount?

You can learn this after you win, you'll receive a notice of award that will explain your back pay and how much you'll get monthly. 


Will my children get benefits alongside my Social Security benefits?



At what age do I have the best chance at getting disability?

People over 50 have the best chances. 


How can I strengthen my case?

Medical records, RFCs from supportive doctors, letters from doctors stating your inability to work an 8-hour workday. It's also not recommended to go to a hearing without a lawyer.  

If I move what happens to my social security case?
Your case will be transferred to a different office near your new location when you notify your local district office.  

Will my SSI be affected by my household?
Yes, since SSI is income based they take into account the household income.
How can I strengthen my child's case for SSI?
There is a child's RFC that your child's doctor should fill out in order to strengthen the case. School records, hospital records and doctors opinions will be helpful. 

If i am a veteran how would my case be affected?
Veterans cases get expedited. You have to present proof of your service and your case will move faster through the process.  

8 Steps: Applying for disability - The Entire Process 


1) Begin your application either at your local office or with a law firm.

2) Wait for a decision, you may get function reports to fill out or be sent to a consultative exam with Social Security (SS) doctors at this stage.

3) A decision is sent to you. How long does it take to receive a Social Security decision? At this stage, it can take 1-3 months depending on state. Your local office can give you information on the length of the process. Roughly 80% of people get denied on their first decision

4) If your claim is denied, the next level is reconsideration - you have 60 days to appeal the decision. How long does it take to a receive Social Security reconsideration decision? It can take 3-6 months for a new decision. Again, during this stage Social Security may send you function reports, request medical records, or send you to consultative exams.  

5) If you get denied at the reconsideration stage, you may put in a request for a hearing, you have 60 days to appeal.

6) The hearing level is where law firms are most confident. How long does it take to get a Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing? Usually takes 10-12 months to get a hearing depending on state. It can take 1-3 months to get a decision after your hearing. Lawyers can write a written legal argument (brief) to support you. Usually an attorney will do this when the case is assigned to a Judge and has been developed with medical records and RFCs.

7) The decision can be unfavorable, fully favorable, or partially favorable. If fully favorable, Social Security (SS) has found you disabled and agrees with the onset date. This means you get compensation (back pay) since the time you claimed you were disabled. Partially favorable means that SS has found you disabled but from a later onset date from the one you claimed. 

8) If not fully favorable, you may want to move on to the Appeals Council. This is usually the final step, cases rarely move to the federal level. At this stage the lawyer writes a brief outlining the errors the Judge made in hopes that it gets remanded to be reviewed again at the hearing level.  





Enter supporting content here