Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability: FAQs

Q: How do I apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits?

A: You can apply for SSD through your local Social Security Administration office or via the Internet at The first step is to review the Adult Disability Starter Kit, which answers common questions about how to apply for benefits and includes a worksheet explaining what information you will need to start the process. Once you have gathered the necessary information, you can fill out the application online to apply. You must also fill out an online disability report, which includes information about your disability, your treatment, your health care providers, and current medications.

Q: What if my application is denied?

A: Ninety percent of all initial applications for Social Security disability benefits are rejected by the Social Security Administration. Initial applications are reviewed by employees of Social Security, not by a Social Security judge. Once an applicant receives a denial of benefits, he or she has 60 days to appeal the decision. This must be done in writing and the applicant must request a hearing before a Social Security judge. If your application for benefits has been denied, you should speak with one of our attorneys and have them represent you in your appeal. Over 60% of those applicants who retain an attorney for their appeal are eventually awarded Social Security disability benefits.

Q: What is Social Security Disability vs. Supplemental Security Income?

A: Supplemental Security income (SSI) is not the same as Social Security disability (SSD). SSI is designed to pay a monthly benefit to people with limited income who are disabled, blind, or ages 65 or older. Many people who are eligible for SSI may also be entitled to receive SSD benefits. In fact, the application for SSI is also an application for SSD benefits and is administered by the Social Security administration. Unlike SSD benefits, SSI benefits are not based on work history. SSI benefits are financed by the U.S. Treasury (in other words personal, corporate, or other taxes). SSI benefits are not paid for by your contributions to Social Security through your employer, so there is no requirement that you “pay in to the system” to qualify for this benefit. In most states, a person who receives SSI benefits can also qualify for Medicaid health care coverage.

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