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Social Security Disability: How do you apply? 

Social security disability overview:

social security disabilitySocial Security disability pays benefits to people who become disabled and can no longer continue doing the work they used to do.  Social Security Disability (SSD) is provided by the Social Security program which also provides another program called the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides basic income to people who are elderly or disabled without regard to their work history. While Supplemental Security Income will be discussed on a separate page, this web page will discuss information specific to Social Security disability. 

Social Security Disability:

You may qualify for Social Security disability if you are longer able to do the type of work you have been doing and cannot do any other work at the present time. Your disability should last or be expected to last for at least one year.  If youíre able to qualify and have a spouse over the age of 62, he/she may also be entitled to some benefits.  You must have a certain minimum amount of work credits to qualify for Social Security disability. 

To apply for Social Security disability, you should go to your local Social Security office and bring the following items with you: 

  • your medical records;

  • your Social Security number;

  • your birth certificate;

  • the names, addresses, and phone numbers of your doctors;

  • a copy of your W-2 form; and,

  • your most recent tax return.

You may be required to be examined by a doctor selected by the Disability Determination Service (a branch of Social Security) in order to qualify for Social Security disability. If for any reason, your disability is denied, you will have 60 days to appeal the decision.  If approved, Social Security disability payments will begin in the sixth month of your disability.  After you have received benefits for two years, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.  The case will be reviewed periodically in order to ensure that you are still disabled. 

It is possible to work and still receive Social Security disability benefits.  One program allows you to work on a trial basis for nine months while keeping your benefits. After that, you can continue working for 36 months as long as you do not have substantial income. ( In 2004, earnings of more then $804 per month for considered substantial.)  Once your benefits stop because you are working, there is a five-year period of time in which your Social Security disability benefits can automatically start again, if you stop working. 

Information from Seniorís Rights by Brette McWhorter Sember 

Additional information and web page by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist  Ph.D Candidate - Clinical Director Senior Care Psychological Consulting


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