"The Social Security Administration`s Web site provides information about Retirement, Survivors and Disability Insurance Benefits, and Supplemental Security Income. The site also provides wage reporting information for employers. All links to Social Security Online (ssa.gov) will take you to a government site. Social Security does not endorse, or appear to endorse, any commercial products or services."
Social Security Disability Eligibility
To be covered by S.S.D.I. you must have worked at jobs which are covered by Social Security. In addition you must have a medical condition that qualifies for benefits. This page explains how the government determines who has worked enough to qualify for benefits.
Applying for benefits
Can be done online at a secure government site. At this site you can apply for disability benefits, benefits for your spouse, restart an incomplete application, and check your claim status.
* Applying can also be done by calling 1-800-772-1212 or contacting your local Social Security office.
How the government determines who is
The law defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months. Disability Determination Services will try to collect evidence from you first, using your medical sources first. If more evidence is needed the determination service will arrange for a medical examination by your doctor or a provider selected by the government.
Disability starter kits are available from the
These kits contain the fact sheet "What You Should Know before You Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits". It also contains a checklist of information and documents to have ready for your disability interview. There is also a worksheet for the adult applicant. It lists information that will be asked for you to provide.
Impairments that qualify for disability. This list is applicable to individual 18 years and over, and to children where criteria is appropriate. By clicking on the link you will be taken to a government web page for that particular impairment.
Government Blue Book "Disability Evaluation under
This publication explains the whole process from a doctors point of view. The publication is in the Adobe Reader format.
Does a Medical Condition Have to Match the Blue Book Listing?
An individual filing for Social Security disability benefits does not necessarily have to satisfy the exact listing requirements for a particular illness or condition (such as rheumatoid arthritis) to be awarded disability benefits based on this condition. You can also be awarded disability benefits if Social Security considers aspects of your condition medically equivalent to the criteria in the listing or a related listing. This is called "equaling a disability listing."
You can also be eligible for disability benefits if you don't meet or equal the criteria for the blue book listing for your condition if your condition limits your functioning so much that you can't work. The SSA will consider the effect of your condition on your capacity to perform routine daily activities and work and will then determine whether there is any kind of job you can safely be expected to do. For more information, see our section on how Social Security decides if your limitations make you disabled.
Family members may be able to receive benefits if
you are found to be disabled.
Qualifying spouse, child, disabled child may be able to receive up to 50% of your benefit. This is in addition to your benefit. This is very important and highly overlooked benefit.
If you were found to be disabled
SSDI benefits will start the sixth full month after they found you were disabled. To calculate your benefits:
How Workers' Compensation And Other Disability
Payments May Affect Your Benefits
If you receive workers compensation or other public disability benefits and Social Security disability benefits, the total amount of these benefits cannot exceed 80 percent of your average current earnings before you became disabled.
It is very important to check the particular impairments that your child may have. Childhood listings will give consideration to the disease process in childhood.
You can get disability benefits even if you are not
If your vision does not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working. For Social Security disability benefits, you also must have worked long enough in a job where you paid Social Security taxes. For SSI payments based on disability and blindness, you need not have worked, but your income and resources must be under certain dollar limits.
To qualify for Social Security disability or SSI on the basis of a vision impairment, there are three listings in the Social Security Administration's impairment listing manual that may generally apply to most claims involving loss of vision. These listings deal with:
What does "in the better eye" mean? The phrase better eye means this: for a disability claim involving a visual allegation, the Social Security Administration will evaluate a claimant's medical records and consider the claimant's residual (remaining) visual acuity and peripheral vision in both eyes. However, if one of the claimant's eyes meets the approval requirements of a listing and the other eye does not (this would be the better eye), the claimant will not be approved on the basis of meeting a listing.
- Remaining visual acuity in the better eye (see our article on disability for central vision loss)
- The level of peripheral field contraction in the better eye (see our article on disability for peripheral vision loss), and
- Loss of visual efficiency in the better eye (this is a combination of visual acuity and peripheral vision).
The Office on Women's Health
Established in 1991 within the US Department of Health and Human Services. OWH coordinates the efforts of all the HHS agencies and office involved in women's health. OWH works to improve the health and well-being of women and girls in the United States.
AIDD Program and Project Contacts
AIDD Program and Project Contacts Information by State and Territory.
Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems
"Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems grants help states and communities to build and integrate early childhood service systems that better meet the needs of children and families."
Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed this website to provide information and resources to help you and your family plan for future long-term care (LTC) needs.
Personal Assistance Services
PAS - also known as personal attendant services, attendant care services, personal care assistance and personal care services (PCS) - include "people or devices that assist a person with a physical, sensory, mental, or cognitive disability with tasks that the person would perform for himself or herself if he or she did not have a disability". In other words, it includes a range of assistance provided to persons with disabilities and chronic conditions, which enables them to accomplish tasks that they would normally do for themselves if they did not have a disability". Something to note here, they have information pertaining to receiving funds for caregiver services (including tending for disabled children).
U.S. Government Telephone and E-mail Directories
Contact directories for government agencies and officials.