Social Security disability • How to apply and Conditions

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the government agency that has been in charge -for over eighty years- of providing the U.S citizens financial protection in cases of retirement, medicare, disability, and others.

In this article, we will focus on the disability benefits.

The process of applying is simple, and you can do it online. That is why we prepared a simple guide with all the necessary information and considerations you must review before filing your claim to the SSA.

What are the SSA programs for disability?


There are two different types of programs provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disabled citizens:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This program is based on your work record; it requires that you have worked long enough and have paid social security taxes.

Surely, you are wondering how much time do you need to work to obtain these benefits? But it depends on the time you spent working by the moment you became disabled, so each case is different from another.

To illustrate this, here is a chart with an estimated calculation:

Table of disability work

Generally, you are not going to receive the payment until the sixth month of disability.

And, you can calculate the estimated amount of your possible benefits by clicking here (this is a retirement benefit estimator, but the SSA requires the same work record for the SSDI benefits).

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

This program, instead of requiring your work records, is based on your needs.

You can apply to this benefits program if you have limited incomes and resources, despite you working or not, and have paid social security taxes.

There is an exemption where you can apply to this program even if you are not a disabled person; this is the specific case of 65 and older people who meet the financial limits.

In this program, you are going to receive the payment from the first month after the date you filed your claim or by the time you become eligible for the SSI.

ALSO, according to your situation, you may find this information helpful: Disability benefits for a veteran’s spouse


In both cases, you can apply online, but only if you meet these requisites:

– Age 18 or older.

– Not receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.

– Incapable of working because of a medical condition (the medical condition hast to be expected to last at least 12 months or result in death).

– Not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days.

Here is the link to fill your application online:

You may also apply by scheduling an appointment in a Social Security Office by calling this number: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

How to apply to get the benefits?

When applying, these are the documents you are going to need to any of the programs (SSDI – SSI):

– About you:

  1. Birth certificate or other proof of birth, like a baptismal certificate.
  2. Your Social Security number.
  3. Proof of U.S. citizenship. In case you were born in another country, the date of your birth and Permanent Resident Card number.
  4. U.S. military discharge papers (only if you had military service before 1968).

– About your medical condition:

  1. Medical evidence already in your possession, like names and dosage of all the medicine you take, doctors’ reports, recent test results, and your patient ID number. This also includes names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors and hospitals or clinics that took care of you, and the records of your medical visits.

– About your work:

  1. Documents of compensation-type benefits you received as a temporary or permanent worker, like award letters, pay stubs or settlement agreements.
  2. A summary of your lasts five jobs and the kind of work you did during the last 15 years.
  3. A copy of your most recent W-2 Form. In case you are self-employed, your tax returns for last year.

– About your family members:

  1. Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits.
  2. Proof of your marriage (including the date), if your spouse is also applying for benefits.

What conditions automatically qualify for disability?

Even though each case is different from another, the SSA has published the Blue Book. In this book are the medical conditions that meet the severity level to qualify for disability benefits automatically.

  1. Musculoskeletal System.
  2. Senses and speech issues.
  3. Respiratory disorders.
  4. Cardiovascular system problems.
  5. Digestive system problems.
  6. Genitourinary disorders.
  7. Hematological disorders.
  8. Skin disorders.
  9. Endocrine disorders.
  10. Congenital disorders (they must affect various body systems).
  11. Neurological disorders.
  12. Mental disorders.
  13. Cancer.
  14. Immune system disorders.

These are the most common, but if you want detailed information for specifics diseases, you can visit the official Blue Book publication in this link.

Can your work part-time on Social Security disability?

So many people get concerned about this subject when they want to apply for disability benefits, but do not worry; you can have a part-time job and still receive Social Security disability benefits.

Although, the amount of your benefits can be reduced if your incomes exceed $1,260 per month (that amount is the limit imposed by SSA for 2020).

Besides, the SSA also considers your hours of work, for example: If you are working over 30 hours per week, despite you do not earn more than $1,260 per month, your claim would be denied because SSA may think you are not a disabled person since you work 30 hours.

Also, if this is a new job, there is an exemption to this situation: during your “trial work” (this is a nine month time where SSA does not count how much you earn), you will continue receiving the benefits.

For more specific information about this subject, you should read this guide.

What is the disability benefit amount?

An estimated monthly amount a disabled worker would receive according to SSA’s report dated December 31, 2019, is $1,258; but this sum could change according to the circumstances of your specific case.

Table of disability payment

In any case, if you need the updated amount, you may dial this number 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).