Social Security Disability Resource Center

Overview | How to Qualify | Applications
Requirements | How long it takes | Back Pay
Mental Disability | What is a disability? | Tips
SSI Benefits | How to Win | Disability Awards
Hearings | Appeals | List of Disabling Conditions

Applying for Disability - Rules and Requirements when you Apply

What are the requirements to apply for disability? There are two ways of addressing this question. One is to examine the process that the social security administration uses to determine eligibility when you apply for SSDI (social security disability insurance) or SSI (supplemental security income) benefits.

By that we mean A) the processing of applying, B) appealing in the event of a denial, C) the criteria that is used, and D) the aspects of a person's medical treatment history and work history that are examined most closely.

The following pages discuss the processing of qualifying for disability benefits and include information on how to prepare for filing a claim, in terms of gathering the needed information:
The second way of addressing this question is, of course, to discuss the issue of insured status and whether or not a person will be eligible to apply for disability benefits under the rules of the SSDI or SSI programs, or under the guidelines of both programs if their claim is concurrent (meaning that they meet the basic eligibility requirements for both programs).

The rules for applying for disability benefits under the social security disability or SSI program are not as complicated or detailed as some might think.

Generally, you may file for social security disability if---

1. You are insured for Social Security benefits (through your work activity over the years).

2. And if you have been unable to engage in work activity that is substantially gainful for the past twelve months (or you expect that your medical condition or conditions will prevent you from working for at least twelve months).

Regarding Insured Status for Social Security Disability

How do you become insured? This is done by earning work credits as a result of your work activity. How will you know if you are insured? When you contact the social security administration to file your disability claim, you may learn whether you are eligible to have a claim filed in the title II social security disability program, or the title 16 SSI program, which is not based on insured status.

If your claim is for title II benefits, you will have a DLI, or date last insured which is, essentially, a date until which you are covered by the social security disability, or SSD, program.

If your DLI is for a date in the past (for example, 1-6-2011), this will mean that, in order to receive disability benefits under SSD, your medical records will need to establish that you became disabled before this date.

If your DLI, or date last insured, is for a future date (for example, 5-8-2030), then your medical records will only need to establish that you are disabled, according to social security administration standards, as of now.

What if you do not have insured status for SSD?

If you are not insured for SSD, then you may have your claim filed in the title 16 program, as long as you do not have assets that disqualify you (note: for SSD, there is no limit on assets). The SSI disability program is different from social security disability in that it is based on need rather than insured status. Consequently, the rules that concern SSI do not involve how much an individual has paid into the system.

There are non-medical rules and requirements concerning resources and income. For example, you cannot have more than two thousand dollars in countable assets if you are applying for disability under the SSI program.

Additionally, to receive benefits you cannot have earned income in excess of the limit for the given (this is known as SGA) and this rule applies to both social security disability and SSI).

However, the actual process for determining whether or not a person is disabled, and, therefore, the disability approval criteria, is the same in both programs.

Additional Information at:

How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled Or Not?

  • What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

  • What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

  • Which conditions will social security recognize as a disability?

  • Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

  • SSDRC Homepage:

    Social Security Disability and SSI Resource Center

    New and featured pages on

    Social Security Disability Requirements

    Social Security Disability list of impairments

    Social Security Disability Application

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    How much can an attorney charge for Social Security disability?

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    Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

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    More Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers

    Common Questions about Social Security Disability and SSI

    Winning Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    The SSI Disability Benefits Program

    Medical exams for disability claims

    Applying for Disability in various states

    Social Security Disability SSI and Doctors - Yours and Theirs

    Social Security Disability and SSI Claim Reviews

    Social Security Disability SSI System and Benefits for Children

    Denials, Appeals, and Getting a Disability Lawyer or Representative

    What you should know about Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

    Questions about Disability Lawyers and Hiring a Disability Attorney

    Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits

    FAQ on Disability Claim Representation

    Disability hearings before Judges

    Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers

    Various Types of Benefits including SSI, Mental, and Child benefits

    Social Security and SSI based on Mental Disability

    Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits for Children

    Disability Benefits through Social Security

    Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits

    Social Security Disability SSI: Medical Evidence and Records

    Filing your claim for disability benefits

    Eligibility for receiving disability benefits

    Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved

    FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions

    The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration

    Resources on this site

    Social Security Disability, SSI Terms and Definitions

    Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

    For Individuals living in North Carolina

    Applying for Disability in North Carolina

    North Carolina Disability Lawyer

    Related pages:

    Who qualifies for disability? - Qualifying is based on evidence of functional limitations
    The Social Security Disability Approval Process and the Criteria for Decisions
    How does Social Security Disability decide that you cannot work?
    How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
    Medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
    The non-medical Disability Requirements for SSD and SSI
    Do you get SSI back benefits from the time you were disabled?
    When does Social Security pay the first disability benefit check?
    How a Social Security Disability or SSI award is made
    Getting a Disability Lawyer in California
    Will I qualify for disability Benefits in California?
    How long does it take to get disability in California?

    These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

    Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
    How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
    Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
    What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
    How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
    How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
    Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it