​​Social Security Disability Q & A

The Social Security Administration (SSA) operates two separate programs that provide cash benefits for people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The monthly benefits and health care provided by each program are very different, though the medical eligibility rules are the same. On this page you'll find links to common questions and topics that can help you understand the benefits that Social Security Disability and SSI offer and estimate the monthly disability check you may receive.

How much in SSDI disability benefits can I get?

The amount of Social Security disability you receive each month is based on your average lifetime earnings before your disability began.

If I get approved for disability, how far back will Social Security pay me?

How much you'll get in disability back payments depends on when you applied, when you became disabled, and whether you're getting SSDI or SSI.

Does Medicare or Medicaid come with disability benefits?

If you're approved for disability benefits, you'll also get Medicare or Medicaid, depending on whether you receive SSDI or SSI benefits.

Can money be taken out of my disability benefits?

Disability benefits can sometimes be taken to pay child support, federal debts, divorce settlements, and taxes.

If I am approved for SSDI, will my child or children get benefits?

Whether your child or children will get Social Security benefits depends on which disability benefits you've been approved for (SSDI or SSI).

How long does it take to get disability benefits?

It can take a month to two years to get approved for disability benefits. The more serious your disability is, the more likely you are to get approved quickly.

Can I get expedited disability benefits?

Social Security will expedite the disability process for certain serious medical conditions.

Will my student loans be forgiven if I'm approved for disability benefits?

If you're expected to be disabled for 5 years or more, you should be able to get your loans canceled.

When Is a Person Considered Disabled by Social Security Disability?

To be considered disabled by the SSA, a person must have an impairment, either medical, psychological, or psychiatric in nature, that meets the definition of disability.

What Is the Difference Between Social Security Disability (SSDI) and SSI?

Both SSI and SSDI disability programs offer cash benefits for disabled individuals, the financial eligibility requirements are very different.

Who Determines Whether I'm Disabled?

Claims examiners at the state disability determination agency decide whether you are medically eligible for Social Security disability or SSI.

When Should You Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Social Security disability cases can take a long time to complete. It's wise to apply as early as possible to get benefits faster.

How do I apply for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

To apply for Social Security Disability benefits, or SSI benefits based on disability, contact your local Social Security Office and state that you wish to file an application.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Decision for Social Security Disability?

In many parts of the country, the Social Security initial application and appeals process has gotten longer due to a steep rise in disability claims.

What Is Disability Determination Services?

Each state has an agency that decides disability claims for Social Security.

What Kind of Evidence Is Used to Evaluate and Decide My Disability Benefit Claim?

For a Social Security disability case, medical evidence takes many forms, including physician treatment notes, mental health records, bloodwork panels, and imaging results.

Can Anyone Help Me Financially While I Wait for a Decision on My Disability Case?

There are few sources of assistance for those seeking Social Security Disability benefits.

Can Certain Medical Conditions Get You Approved for Disability Automatically?

There are conditions for which disability is automatically approved if you fulfill the listed requirements.

What Does a Social Security Claims Representative Do on a Disability Claim?

The field rep checks your basic non-medical eligibility and forwards your case to DDS.

If I Can Work Part Time But Not Full Time, Can I Get Disability Benefits?

In some cases, if your last job was part time, you'll be denied disability if you can't work full time but you can work part time.

Can I Get Disability Benefits After a Car Accident FAQ?

A car accident disability is something you can get Social Security or SSI benefits for if it lasts over a year.

If My Social Security Disability or SSI Claim Gets Denied, What Do I Do?

If you are denied on your Social Security Disability or SSI benefit claim, you should request an appeal immediately, within the 60-day deadline.

How Long Does a Social Security Disability or SSI Appeal Take?

It depends on the type of claim, the condition of your medical records, and the workload of your claims examiner.

Will I Have to File More than one Social Security Disability Appeal?

Generally, the rule is this: If you are denied on your initial claim for disability benefits, you will probably be denied on your first appeal as well.

Totally and Permanently Disabled, Why Can't I Get Social Security Disability?

Being found totally and permanently disabled by workers' comp doesn't necessarily translate to disability for Social Security or SSI.

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