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How to Apply for SSDI

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The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you are insured, which means that you have worked long enough, recently enough, and have paid Social Security taxes on your earnings.  The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to adults and children with disabilities who have limited income and resources.

While these two programs are different, the medical requirements are the same.  If you meet the non-medical requirements, monthly benefits are paid if you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in death.

Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:

  • You must gather the information and documents you need to apply.  We recommend you print and review the Adult Disability Starter Kit. It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application:
  • You must complete and submit your application.
  • SSDI reviews your application to make sure you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits.
  • SSDI checks whether you worked enough years to qualify.
  • SSDI evaluates your current work activities, if any.
  • SSDI processes your application and forwards the request to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
  • The State agency makes the disability determination decision.

Learn more about SSDI and SSI by clicking here: