Disability Benefits: Protection against the Unexpected

August 29, 2016 • By

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Last Updated: August 29, 2016

young man in a wheelchair writing a letterDisability is unpredictable and can happen to any person, at any age. Millions of Americans live with disabilities that are the result of a sudden traumatic event or onset of a serious medical condition.

Social Security disability benefits protect you against the unexpected. When you know about the services we provide, you’ll make better decisions when life throws you a curve.

Our disability program provides financial support to disabled individuals and their families in times of need. If you think you have a qualifying disability, don’t wait, apply right away.

Social Security pays disability benefits to people with a severe medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death. This condition must prevent you from performing substantial work. Social Security does not give benefits to people with partial disability or short-term disability, like veteran’s benefits and workers’ compensation do. You must also meet the earnings requirement for disability benefits.

When you apply for disability, we will need medical and other information from you. We can help you get this information together. You can also have a representative help you gather and submit this information. This representative may be an attorney or other qualified person.

You can get more information about applying for our disability programs at our website. If you click on “Apply for Benefits,” you can then follow a link to get a Disability Starter Kit. This kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application.

Once you have your information together, you can apply for disability benefits online. Knowing this information can help you make the best decision for you and your family, if life throws the unexpected at you.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. tammy

    “Social Security pays disability benefits to people with a severe medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death. This condition must prevent you from performing substantial work” (WOW, what an absolute and total LIE). I have been physically and totally disabled my entire life, SINCE BIRTH and the corrupt SOCIALIST SECURITY SYSTEM has NEVER paid me ONE PENNY! because I married an “able bodied person”, they have a special rule that the SS system uses to justify their discrimination of my choice in who to marry. This idiotic “rule” is based on the words “who is unmarried” in the “adult disabled child” section of the Socialist Security rules. I will continue to speak out against this system for as long as I live. My voice will NEVER BE SILENCED, EVER!

    If you are a physically disabled person (an adult disabled child) and you happen to marry an “able bodied person” you will be loosing out on a lifetime of benefits, all because of a one word “rule” that prohibits you from marrying an “able bodied person”. Best of all, they never tell you about their “Rule” so that they can justify cutting off any benefits that you may be due.

    Because you are physically disabled (adult disabled child) and you choose not to marry another adult disabled child or disabled person drawing off socialist security, you WILL LOOSE ANY AND ALL BENEFITS FOR LIFE. This means that the SOCIALIST SECURITY system is TELLING YOU WHO YOU ARE ALLOWED TO MARRY and who you are
    NOT ALLOWED TO MARRY! It is a discriminatory act “rule” and should be ILLEGAL!

    Even though I am permanently and totally disabled, if I marry an “able bodied person”, somehow that marriage makes everything ok and I am no longer considered disabled (in the eyes of the socialist security system). Magically (because I married an able bodied person), the pixie fairies come down and cure my disability, because now I can just go out and find gainful employment, no one will discriminate against my physical disability and everything will be grand, right? Somehow magically, marrying an able bodied person makes my physical disablility dissappear and now I am cured, right? WRONG!

    The issue is a special “Rule” that the Socialist Security System uses to discriminate against “certain” people. If you are a “physically disabled person” (AKA-certain people) and happen to marry an able bodied person, then the SOCIALIST SECURITY system will use special “Rules” to legally discriminate against you and deny you benefits, even if you appeal online.

    The SOCIALIST SECURITY system has caused me a lot of economic hardship all because I married an able bodied person. The SOCIALIST SECURITY system thinks someone who is physically disabled (permanently and totally disabled) marries an “able bodied person”, that somehow magically they are cured of their physical disability and two people can survive off the able bodied persons income. WOW, talk about a bunch of bureaucratic idiotic thinking, that somehow this would not cause a financial hardship….. amazing.

    The rules that the Social Security Administration uses to legally discriminate against persons who are “Adult Disabled Children” who happen to marry an able bodied person, are discriminatory. This is loosely referred to as the “marriage penalty” but I call it exactly what it is, a legal form of discrimination.
    I firmly believe this rule, is an act of bias, prejudice and discrimination against people who (by no fault of their own) are born disabled and happen to marry an able bodied person

    Please write your Congressional Representative and tell them to end this modern day form of Legal Discrimination. In this day of fairness and equality, there are still some people suffering from an outdated and oppressive bureaucratic rule.

    (PS. notice how the only thing any of these SOCIALIST SECURITY workers ever say are quotes of the rules or processes, like a worker drone. They are unable to address any topics that fall outside of their rule books). Typical bureaucracy and bureaucratic responses, like trying to argue over lost change with a vending machine!

    • Mike

      Tammy, you post this same exact rant on every thread, so I know you have read at least one well written response to your complaint.
      Let me begin by saying that I am very sorry that you are havi,g a difficult time right now. That’s a shame, and nobody should have to go through it….that said, it does happen though. My sympathies to you and your family.
      Now to the point. You said that you were an adult disabled child. That means that you were never drawing from ssa, your parents were getting money through their ssa to care for you. You were financially dependant on them for your care. Now, when you got married, the burden of care switched from them to your spouse. Since he is able bodied (able to work/ not disabled) he is not eligible for ssa at this time. Hence the denial. This may sound harsh, but the blame here rests on you.
      Getting married absolutely changes everything. The burden was on you to check into whether or not this would affect the ssa payments, BEFORE you got married.
      You made a costly choice, but it was YOUR CHOICE! There is no discrimination there, just the letter of the very clearly stated law. They are not in the business of telling you who to marry or not. That is your decision, now you have to live with the changes that choice has brought to your life. You got married, then they stopped paying your PARENTS for your care.
      Or do you think that your folks should get $ from ssa to support their married daughter and her able bodied husband? That would be fraud.

  2. Rontigus B.

    I’ve applied 13 separate times IN north Carolina. That’s beyond sad. I’d be dead and gone, never to obtain any stability, before I parish. I’m now in Georgia trying my damnest, .. my little poor mind, body & soul are at it’s last brink of faith.

  3. Angela c.

    What if you own your house before you get disibility and decide to sell will they take your disibility?

    • Ray F.

      Thanks for contacting us Angela. The selling of your house will not affect your “regular” disability benefits (SSDI), but it can affect the disability benefits you receive under the Supplemental Security Income or SSI program. This is because SSI benefits pays benefits based on financial need, and the limit countable resources for an individual is $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple). See our SSI Income and Resources web page for more information.

      • Malinda

        This is one type that I’ve been wanting to get but never gotten around to ’til the day I bought my ticket. Having deliberated that it’s a passing fancy, spending 150 pesos on a hat ain’t that bad. Rationale behind the accessory choice is for the pure fun of it. Besides, a hat seems to suit my present prteicamend: I choose Summer.

  4. James s.

    (Sidi not sodium)

  5. James s.

    The problem with getting sodium is there are so many people who are trying to get something they don’t actually quality for witch makes the system grind to a halt trying to make sure the person applying is actually disabled there are a lot of them looking for the free ride and that makes it hard for someone that is actually and truly disabled

    • Nikki

      Blir moro!! :-)Jeg har selv judnkaleeler, men sikkert langt fra så flotte gaver om du klarer fikse med dine sponsorer!ha en finfin dag!

  6. Anne T.

    I’m 59 years old. Widow of a Vietnam vet who served 23plus yrs in navy. I started the disability / SSI process a year ago. Have worked almost my entire life until unable to do so. Have numerous medical conditions anemia. Receive iron transfusions at oncologist sometimes need blood transfusions. Depression. Discs replacement c1 through c7 .even letter from physician stating disabled unable to work anymore & list endless. Husbands retirement stopped when he died along with his SSI. So far I have been turned down twice. Now will have to wait for hearing & if possibly do win pay lawyer. In meantime I’m getting food from food banks. Central air totally dead in mid summer. Thank God children bought me 1 window unit however I’m practically living / sleeping in 1room with bill collectors hounding me. Hoping don’t loose my home. Was told by SSI that can’t draw on husbands till 60 unless disability comes through. .that would be another year. I don’t understand why after working since age 13 & now unable to work why process so difficult & long. .do they hope people will give up. .or just die waiting? I’m so frustrated & barely getting by while mental issues & health getting worse. I’m sorry to ramble just stressed. Thanks for listening

    • Ron W.

      I understand, keep your eyes to the heavens?

    • Mike

      Anne, hang in there. It took over 2 years for me to be approved for disability. It is frustrating, stressful, and sometimes scary. All the time not sure if you may lose your home, etc. All I can say is stick with it. If you have paid in and met the financial requirements, and your disability claim is legit, which it sounds like it is, keep at it. You will be approved if you meet the requirements. It just may take some more time. I know that is probably not what you want to hear, but it is what I believe. SSA is here to help those of us who are disabled and can not work. Have faith, you will get it eventually. You have to remember, especially if you are waiting for a hearing, that there are a lot of others in bad situations as well, and they have to review every case before deciding on them. This takes time

  7. Stephen L.

    I cannot sign in or log in? pease leave me your contact number so I can call. thanks

  8. Stephen L.

    Please leave me a phone number to call. thanks

    • Ron W.

      Is this secure?

  9. Ron W.

    I’m 100% disabled from my service in the military.Why am I turned down for SSD? I’m 57, worked all my life. Why don’t SSA @ VA work together. Both in the gov.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Ron. First of all, we want to thank you for your service to our country. Please keep in mind that the Social Security Act sets out a very strict definition of disability, much different from the requirements for other government programs including veterans’ benefits. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or short-term disability. Disability benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death.

  10. janice

    Have you taken a look around the ssd office and see what is working there? If so you know why it takes so long. SSD has to hire them but you cant get them to work and can’t fire them.

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