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Social Security Disability Benefits Form : Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs provide assistance to people who meet our requirements for disability. Before you apply, please review the basics to make sure you understand what to expect during the application process. Also, gather the information and documents you’ll need to complete an application.
Social Security Disability Benefits Form
The SSDI program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you are “insured.” This means that you worked long enough – and recently enough – and paid Social Security taxes on your earnings. The SSI program pays benefits to adults and children who meet our requirements for a qualifying disability and have limited income and resources.
While these two programs are different, the medical requirements are the same. If you meet the nonmedical requirements, monthly benefits are paid if you have a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.
How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits Form
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the Adult Disability Checklist. It will help you gather the information and documents you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet our basic requirements for disability benefits.
- We confirm you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This state agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you have a disability, read our publication Disability Benefits.
Once you have applied for Social Security Disability Benefits
Processing time for disability applications vary depending on the nature of the disability, necessary medical evidence or examinations, and applicable quality reviews.
Once we receive your application, we’ll review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed.
Look For Our Response
When the state agency makes a determination on your case, you’ll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. It generally takes three to six months for an initial decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, we’ll let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check Disability Benefits Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal my Social Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appeal A Decision
You have the right to appeal any decision we make about whether you’re entitled to benefits. You must request an appeal in writing within 60 days after you receive the notice of our decision. There are four levels of appeal:
- Hearing by an administrative law judge.
- Review by the Appeals Council.
- Federal Court Review.
Appeal a decision we made : If you don’t agree with a decision we made, follow the process to request a change.
You have four opportunities to appeal our decision : You may not have to go through all the appeal levels. To start, ask us to reconsider a decision we made. Continue to move through the process if you disagree with the decisions.
Information You Need to Social Security Disability Benefits Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the Adult Disability Checklist. It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate).
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other financial institution’s Routing Transit Number and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines, the amount you are taking, and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- The amount of money earned last year and this year.
- The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year.
- The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968.
- A list of the jobs (up to five) that you had in the 15 years before you became unable to work and the dates you worked at those jobs.
- Information about any workers’ compensation, black lung, and similar benefits you filed, or intend to file for. These benefits can:
- Be temporary or permanent.
- Include annuities and lump sum payments that you received in the past.
- Be paid by your employer or your employer’s insurance carrier, private agencies, or federal, state, or other government or public agencies.
- Be referred to as:
- Workers’ Compensation.
- Black Lung Benefits.
- Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation.
- Civil Service (Disability) Retirement.
- Federal Employees’ Retirement.
- Federal Employees’ Compensation.
- State or local government disability insurance benefits.
- Disability benefits from the military. These include military retirement pensions based on disability but not Veterans’ Administration (VA) benefits.
Documents You Must Provide for How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
Along with the information listed above, we may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:
- Birth certificate or other proof of birth.
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
- U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968.
- W-2 forms(s) or self-employment tax returns for last year.
- Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results.
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you received.
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, and medical documents, but we must see the originals of most other documents, such as your birth certificate. (We will return them to you.) | Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits Online
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you develop a disability. Follow these easy steps to apply online for disability:
- To start your application, go to our Apply for Benefits page, and read and agree to the Terms of Service. Click “Next.”
- On that page, review the “Getting Ready” section to make sure you have the information you need to apply.
- Select “Start A New Application.”
- We will ask a few questions about who is filling out the application.
- You will then sign in to your personal my Social Security account, or you will be prompted to create one.
- Complete the application.
You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:
- Are age 18 or older.
- Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record.
- Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
- Have not been denied for disability in the last 60 days.
Note: If your application was recently denied, our Internet Appeal application is a starting point to request a review of the determination we made.
You may be able to file online for SSI at the same time that you file for SSDI benefits. Once you complete the online process described above, a Social Security representative will contact you if we need additional information.
Other Ways Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
Apply With Your Local Office
You can do most of your business with Social Security online. If you cannot use these online services, your local Social Security office can help you apply. You can find the phone number for your local office by using our Office Locator and looking under Social Security Office Information. The toll-free “Office” number is your local office.
Apply By Phone
Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, to apply by phone.
If You Do Not Live in the U.S. Or One of Its Territories
Contact the Federal Benefits Unit for your country of residence if you live outside the U.S. or a U.S. territory and wish to apply for retirement benefits.
Mailing Your Documents
If you mail any documents to us, you must include the Social Security number so that we can match them with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.
Information for Advocates, Attorneys, and Third Parties
What do I need to know about Advance Designation?
You should be aware of another type of representation called Advance Designation.
Advance Designation allows capable adult and emancipated minors who are applying for or receiving Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or Special Veterans Benefits the option to choose up to three people in advance who could serve as their representative payee, if the need arises.
In the event that you can no longer manage your benefits, you and your family will have peace of mind knowing that someone you trust may be appointed to manage your benefits for you. If you need a representative payee to assist with the management of your benefits, we will first consider your advance designees. We must still fully evaluate them and determine their suitability at that time.
You can submit and update your advance designation request when you apply for benefits or after you are already receiving benefits. You may do so through your personal my Social Security account, contacting us by telephone at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or at your local office.
What You Need To Know About Filling Out the Online Disability Application
Before you apply online for disability benefits, please review the Adult Disability Benefits Checklist to be sure you have everything you need. You will be asked to agree to a ‘Terms of Service Agreement’ and create or log in to your personal my Social Security account. If we are not able to process your request, you will receive specific information on how to contact us by phone or schedule an appointment.
Applying Online for Disability Benefits
There are four steps in the Online Disability Application Process:
- Provide Background Information,
- Provide Disability Information,
- Sign Medical Release, and
It may take you between one to two hours to complete all the steps in the application process.
You must complete each step before you move to the next step. However, you do not have to complete all the steps at once.
Completing The Online Disability Application Process
After you provide some of the background information, you will get a page with a Re-entry Number and other important information about your application.
You need to print the page with the Re-entry Number or write the number down. If you cannot complete the application process during your first visit, you can use your Re-entry Number to come back later.
The First Two Steps
The questions in the first two steps are divided into sections.
- If you do not have the information you need to answer all the questions on a page, you can select the tab at the top of the page to move to another section.If you use the tab to move to another section, your work on that page will not be saved. However, you can come back and answer those questions later.
Warning: You cannot use periods, commas, and other special characters when you answer some of the questions. If you use a character that a field cannot accept and you try to go to another page, you will get a message that tells you there is a problem and what caused it.
Example: You cannot use a period as part of an address. If you type “27 N. Main St.” instead of “27 N Main St” in an address field, you will get a message when you try to go to the next page.
- “Dialogue boxes” appear automatically on some pages to give you additional information about either the option you chose or the question you are about to answer.
- The first two steps include a “Remarks” section that lets you enter additional information you want to include or cannot fit elsewhere. If you do not have enough room in “Remarks,” write the information on a separate sheet of paper and send it to us at the address we will give you after you complete the application.
- You must complete Step 1 before you can go to Step 2.
- We will give you a chance to “Review” all your answers and make changes before you go to the next step.
Note: You will not be able to make changes after you select the “Accept & Continue” button to move to the next step of the process.
Saving Your Work
We automatically save your work each time you click “Next,” “Previous,” or “Save & Exit.”
- If you use the “Save & Exit” button at the bottom of a page to stop working on the application, you can use the Reentry Number to return to the page where you stopped.
- If you use a tab at the top of the page to move to another section, we will not save the work you did on that page.
- A green check mark next to the:
- Section title on a tab or in the Section List on the right hand side of the side of the page, means you have provided and saved all the information needed in that section.
- Step Number at the top of the page, means you have completed that step.
- A yellow triangle next to a title in the Section List, means you need to provide more information in that section.
- When you complete the “Provide Background Information” or “Provide Disability Information” step of the process, you will see a “Review” page with the information you entered. You can use the “Edit” buttons on the “Review” page to go back and make any necessary changes at that time.
- When you select “Accept & Continue” at the bottom of a “Review” page, you will:
- Move to the next “step” in the application process and
- No longer be able to change the information in that step.
Finishing The Online Disability Application Process
The “Remarks” section at the end of Step 1 and Step 2 lets you enter additional information you want to include or cannot fit elsewhere.
Remember to “Review” your answers at the end of each step and use the “Edit” buttons to make any necessary changes before you submit your application.
When you select “Submit” at the end of Step 3, you will receive a “Confirmation” page. The page will include:
- a Confirmation Number you can use to check the status of your application;
- instructions about what you need to do next;
- a list of documents you may need if we contact you;
- links to your “Receipt” and a copy of your “Electronically Signed Medical Release Form” (The “Receipt” includes a copy of the disability application you submitted.);
- Contact information and a list of useful links.
Note: If someone is completing the application for you, the page will not include a Confirmation Number or a link to an Electronically Signed Medical Release Form. However, the “Confirmation” page will still include a link to the Receipt.
We recommend that you print the “Confirmation” page, the “Receipt,” and a copy of the medical release for your records.
Important: We will not contact you for additional information unless you have completed Step 1, “Provide Background Information,” of the Online Disability Application Process.
For security reasons, there is a time limit for viewing each page. If you spend 25 minutes on a page without making any changes, you will receive a warning but you will be able to extend your time on that page.
We will give you two chances to extend your time on the page. If you receive a third warning, you must move to another page.
If you do not move to another page after the third warning, your time will run out and any work you did on that page will be lost.
Benefits for People with Disabilities
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. Periodically, we will need updated information about your condition.
You may receive a Disability Update Report (SSA-455). This form can now be completed online. 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, 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.
Adults with a Disability that Began Before Age 22
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if their parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The Disabled Adult Child (DAC) — who may be an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild — must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a qualified disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
Example: A worker starts collecting Social Security retirement benefits at age 62. He has an unmarried 38-year old son who has had cerebral palsy since birth. The son may start collecting a DAC benefit on his father’s Social Security record. It is not necessary that the DAC ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
- A DAC must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider substantial increases each year. In 2023, this means working and earning more than $1,470 (or $2,460 if you’re blind) a month.
Certain expenses the DAC incurs in order to work may be excluded from these earnings. For more information about work and disability, refer to Working While Disabled: How We Can Help.
What if the child is already receiving SSI or disability benefits on their own record and turns 18?
A child already receiving SSI benefits or disability benefits on his or her own record should check to see if DAC benefits may be payable on a parent’s earnings record when they reach age 18. Higher benefits might be payable and entitlement to Medicare may be possible.
How do we decide if a child over age 18 qualifies for SSDI benefits?
If a child is age 18 or older, we will evaluate his or her disability the same way we would evaluate the disability for any adult. We send the application to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your state that completes the disability decision for us.
What happens if the DAC gets married?
In most cases, DAC benefits end if the child gets married. There are exceptions, such as marriage to another DAC, when the benefits are allowed to continue. The rules vary depending on the situation.
Contact a Social Security representative at 1-800-772-1213 to report changes in marital status and to find out if the benefits can continue. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.
At this time, you cannot apply for DAC benefits online. If you wish to file for benefits, contact us immediately at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to request an appointment. If you delay, some potential benefits could be lost.
SSI Child Disability Starter Kit (for children under age 18)
“What You Should Know Before You Apply for SSI Disability Benefits for Your Child”
The fact sheet answers frequently asked questions about applying for SSI child disability benefits. It includes the definition of disability for children under age 18, information about the SSI program, and other important information about state and local medical assistance. It provides a link to the online Child Disability Report.
“Medical and School Worksheet – Child.”
The worksheet can help you to prepare for the disability interview or complete the Child Disability Report on the Internet. It lists the information that we will ask you about your child and provides space to write down this information.
If you use the Child Disability Report on the Internet, you will type your Worksheet information directly into the report. You can review and print the complete Child Disability Report at: www.ssa.gov/disability/ssa-3820.pdf (pdf file)
“Checklist – Child Disability Interview ”
This is a list of information and documents for your child that you will need for the disability interview or to complete the Child Disability Report on the Internet.
SSI Eligibility for Children
Children under age 18 can get SSI if they meet Social Security’s definition of disability for children and there are limited income and resources in the household. Social Security defines a disability as:
- The child must have a physical or mental condition(s) that very seriously limits his or her activities; and
- The condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, at least 1 year or result in death.
Other Ways to Apply
Apply By Phone
Call us to make an appointment to file an application at 1-800-772-1213. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call us at TTY 1-800-325-0778.
Begin the Application Online
Applying for SSI requires 2 steps. You will need to complete the online Child Disability Report AND, with the help of a Social Security representative, complete an Application for SSI.
TIP: Before completing the Child Disability Report, use our Child Disability Starter Kit to get answers to commonly asked questions about applying for SSI. The kit also includes a worksheet that will help you gather the information you need.
Fill out the online Child Disability Report
The report usually takes about an hour to complete and collects information about the child’s disabling condition and how it affects their ability to function.
We will ask you to sign a form that gives the child’s doctor(s) permission to give us information about their disability. We need this information so that we can make a decision on the child’s claim. In some cases, if the child is over age 12, he or she must sign his or her own medical release.
Start the Child Disability Report – If you previously started a Child Disability Report for this child but did not finish it, you can use your re-entry number to return to your online Child Disability Report.
After you submit a report, we will call you within 3-5 business days. Together, we will:
- Review the completed Child Disability Report.
- Discuss whether the income and resources of the household are within the allowed limits.
- Start the SSI application process.
How can I get ready for the disability interview?
- Review the disability starter kit. It includes a checklist and a worksheet to help you gather the information you need. Have this information with you at the time of the interview.
- You can fill out a Child Disability Report.
- For more information visit Benefits for People with Disabilities or call toll-free 1-800-772-1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call TTY 1-800-325-0778).
How will I know what Social Security has decided?
We will send you a letter. It can take 3 to 5 months for us to make a decision on a child’s SSI disability claim. We may also contact you by phone to ask additional questions. Let us know if your address or telephone number changes so that we can get in touch with you.
What if I am more comfortable speaking in a language other than English?
We provide free interpreter services to help you conduct your Social Security business, including helping you complete the SSI application and answering your questions. NOTE: the Child Disability Report is only available in English.
Call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. If you need service in Spanish, press 7 and wait for a Spanish-speaking representative to help you. For all other languages, stay on the line and remain silent during our English voice automation prompts until a representative answers. The representative will contact an interpreter to help with your call. You may access the information on this page in Spanish.
Disability is something most people don’t like to think about. But the chances that you’ll develop a disability are probably greater than you realize. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a one-in-four chance of developing a disability before reaching full retirement age. Social Security pays disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This publication is about our SSDI program and provides basic information to help you understand the process.
Who can get Social Security disability benefits?
We pay disability benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. Federal law requires this very strict definition of disability. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, we do not. Certain family members of workers with disabilities can also receive benefits from us. We explain this in the “Can my family get benefits?” section.
How do I meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits?
In general, to get disability benefits, you must meet two different earnings tests:
- A recent work test, based on your age at the time you developed a disability.
- A duration of work test to show that you worked long enough under Social Security.
Certain workers who are blind have to meet only the duration of work test. The following table shows the rules for how much work
you need for the recent work test, based on your age when you developed a disability. We base the rules in this table on the calendar quarter in which you turned or will turn a certain age.
The calendar quarters are:
- First Quarter: January 1 through March 31
- Second Quarter: April 1 through June 30
- Third Quarter: July 1 through September 30
- Fourth Quarter: October 1 through December 31
|If you develop a disability…||Then you generally need:|
|In or before the quarter you turn age 24||1.5 years of work during the three-year period ending with the quarter you developed a disability.|
|In the quarter after you turn age 24 but before the quarter you turn age 31||Work during half the time for the period beginning with the quarter after you turned 21 and ending with the quarter you developed a disability. Example: If you developed a disability in the quarter you turned age 27, then you would need three years of work out of the six-year period ending with the quarter you developed a disability.|
|In the quarter you turn age 31 or later||Work during five years out of the 10-year period ending with the quarter you developed a disability.|
The following formula shows how many quarters of coverage you need to meet the duration of work test:
In general, you may take the year you developed a disability and subtract the year you attained age 22, to get the number of quarters of coverage necessary to meet the duration requirement.
NOTE: You must have a minimum of six quarters of coverage to meet the duration requirement. This minimum requirement is also applicable for those who have not yet attained age 22 and may apply for disability based on their own earnings.
NOTE: This table is an estimate only and does not cover all situations.
social security disability age chart
|f you develop a disability…||Then you generally need:|
|Before age 28||1.5 years of work|
|Age 30||2 years|
|Age 34||3 years|
|Age 38||4 years|
|Age 42||5 years|
|Age 44||5.5 years|
|Age 46||6 years|
|Age 48||6.5 years|
|Age 50||7 years|
|Age 52||7.5 years|
|Age 54||8 years|
|Age 56||8.5 years|
|Age 58||9 years|
|Age 60||9.5 years|
How do I apply for disability benefits?
There are two ways that you can apply for disability benefits. You can:
- Apply online.
- Call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to make an appointment to file a disability claim at your local Social Security office. You can also set up an appointment for someone to take your claim over the telephone. The disability claim interview lasts about one hour. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778, between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you schedule an appointment, we’ll send you a Disability Starter Kit to help you get ready for your disability claims interview. The Disability Starter Kit also is available online at www.ssa.gov/disability.
You have the right to representation by an attorney or other qualified person of your choice when you do business with us.
When should I apply and what information do I need?
You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you develop a disability. Processing an application for disability benefits can take on average three to six months. To apply for disability benefits, you’ll need to complete an application for Social Security benefits. You can apply online at www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability. We may be able to process your application faster if you help us by getting any information we need, such as:
- Your Social Security number.
- Your date and place of birth
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that took care of you, and dates of your visits.
- Names and dosages of all the medicine you take.
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers that you already have in your possession.
- Laboratory and test results.
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did.
- A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you’re self-employed, your federal tax returns for the past year.
In addition to the application for disability benefits, you’ll also need to fill out other forms. One form collects information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. Other forms give doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals who have treated you, permission to send us information about your medical condition. Don’t delay applying for benefits if you can’t get all of this information together quickly. We’ll help you get it.
Social Security Disability Benefits Pay Chart 2023
When you receive benefits from the SSI program, you will have a social security pay chart to show you how much you will receive with each payment. Your pay chart will be different from someone else’s. It will typically vary year to year, as well. The Cost of Living Increase (COLA) for 2023 raised the amount you can receive by 8.7%.
|Recipient||2022 Annual Amount||2023 Annual Amount||2023 Monthly Amount|
The most important thing to understand about your social security pay chart is the information it will provide you. You will know the monthly benefit amounts to expect when you have an accurate chart.
Who decides if I have a qualifying disability?
We’ll review your application to make sure you meet some basic requirements for disability benefits. We’ll check whether you worked enough years to qualify. Also, we’ll evaluate any current work activities. If you meet these requirements, we’ll process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
This state agency completes the initial disability determination decision for us and considers all of the facts in your case. Doctors and disability specialists in the state agency may ask your doctors for information about your condition(s). They’ll use the medical evidence from your doctors, hospitals, clinics, or institutions where you’ve been treated, and all other information. They’ll ask your doctors about:
- Your medical condition(s).
- When your medical condition(s) began.
- How your medical condition(s) limit your activities.
- Medical tests results.
- What treatment you’ve received
They’ll also ask the doctors for information about your ability to do work-related activities, such as walking, sitting, lifting, carrying, and remembering instructions. Your doctors don’t decide if you meet our definition of disability. The state agency staff may need more medical information before they can decide if you have a disability.
If your medical sources can’t provide needed information, the state agency may ask you to go for a special examination. We prefer to ask your own doctor, but sometimes the exam may have to be done by someone else. We will pay for the exam and for some of the related travel costs.
What happens when my claim is approved?
We’ll send a letter to you telling you your application is approved, the amount of your monthly benefit, and the effective date. Your monthly disability benefit is based on your average lifetime earnings. Generally, there is a five-month waiting period and we’ll pay your first benefit the sixth full month after the date we find your disability began.
However, there is no waiting period if your disability results from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here is an example: If the state agency decides your disability began on January 15, your first disability benefit will be paid for the month of July. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due, so you’ll receive your July benefit in August.