Skip to content
Social Security Online
Disability Programs
SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home

Benefits For People With Disabilities

Applying for Benefits?

How to Apply
Disability Starter Kits
Benefits Planner

Non-English Languages

Getting Benefits Now?

Direct Deposit
Ticket to Work/Work Incentives
Representative Payment Program

Health Insurance

Medicare/Medicaid Services
Insure Kids Now

Program Information

Electronic Disability Guide (eDG)
Social Security Handbook
Program/Actuarial Data
Laws & Legislation
Hearings & Appeals
SSA Advisory Board
Facts and Figures


Frequently Asked Questions

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.

Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.

When you apply for either program, we will collect medical and other information from you and make a decision about whether or not you meet Social Security's definition of disability.

Use the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool to find out which programs may be able to pay you benefits.

If your application has recently been denied, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of our decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.

If your application is denied for:

  • Medical reasons, (beginning December 22nd) you can complete and submit the required Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report online.

    The disability report asks you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests or doctor visits since we made our decision.

  • Non-medical reasons, you should contact your local Social Security Office to request the review. You also may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to request an appeal. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Report fraud, waste and abuse


What's New

Social Security Administration Attacks Disability Backlog - October 9, 2007 Press Release

Plan to Eliminative the Hearing Backlog and Prevent Its Recurrence, Semiannual Report, Fiscal Year 2008  Adobe Reader Download Page

Plan to Reduce the Hearings Backlog and Improve Public Service at the Social Security Administration Adobe Reader Download Page

Testimony of Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, before the Senate Finance Committee on SSA's plans to reduce Disability backlogs

Summary of Initiatives to Eliminate the SSA Hearing Backlog - Addendum

Electronic Disability Guide (eDG)

Social Security holds first disability hearing on Compassionate Allowances


More Information

How We Decide If You Are Disabled
(Step 4 and Step 5)
Disability Determination Process
Disability Report Form Guide
Benefits for Children with Disabilities
Professional Relations
Green Book - Consultative Examinations: Guide for Health Professionals
Blue Book - Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
Service to the Homeless
Americans With Disabilities
Intellectual Disabilitiesblank spaceAdobe Reader Download Page Portal to U.S. government agencies Privacy Policy | Website Policies & Other Important Information | Site Map
Last reviewed or modified Monday Jun 30, 2008
Need Larger Text?