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. Greta J.

    Thank you for informing me that disability protection covers bad conditions that last longer than one year. My mother is getting old enough to receive social security benefits and I want to make sure she is protected in case anything happens. I guess if we ever did have any problems we would probably need to look for lawyers to help us through the legal stuff. https://www.jameshowesattorney.com/practice-areas/social-security-disability/

  2. Sadie J.

    Thank you for stating that when you apply for disability, you will need to give medical and other information. My daughter recently got diagnosed with cystic fibrosis so I want to help her get disability insurance so she is protected. I will definitely keep all of your great tips and information in mind when trying to help my daughter. https://short-term-disability-insurance.com/

  3. Ryan S.

    Good share! Thanks https://blog.statcounter.com

  4. Adelina c.

    My application was transferred from Texas & I am going threw chemo @ cabrina hospital in Alexandria. I would like to add this to my girl & be seen in a appointment ass soon as possible

    • Luis A.

      Hi Adelina. For your security, we do not have access to your personal information in this forum. For specific questions about your account, please call our toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), from Monday through Friday, between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. You may also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  5. Thanh B.

    HiWhat’s upHi thereHello i am kavin, its my first timeoccasion to commenting anywhereanyplace, when i read this articlepostpiece of writingparagraph i thought i could also makecreate comment due to this brilliantsensiblegood articlepostpiece of writingparagraph.


  6. Dylan P.

    It’s good to know that social security pays disability benefits to people who have a severe medical condition that’s expected to last for a year or result in death. My brother has been telling me about how someone he works with is getting social security disability benefits, and he wants to know why. I’ll pass this information along to him so that he can look further into the reasons for social security disability benefits.

  7. Sharon L.

    I live on 1360$ a month
    I am incontinent
    I do not understand
    Medicaid denial
    Sharon Cook

  8. Dave A.

    That is nice that disability claims protect me against the unexpected. It would be nice to have a disability claim so I would have some money in case something happens with my family. Soon I will have to look into getting a claim since I have a disability. http://www.erisaattorneyshaffman.com/san-jose

  9. Millie H.

    Thanks for helping me understand that you can get benefits from this kind of law when you are in a really severe medical condition. With that in mind, I should consult a lawyer to help identify if my brother can benefit from it. It’s because he has a mental disorder, and he has been in an accident when he slipped on the stairs of a commercial establishment. https://johnehornattorney.com/

  10. MP S.

    it all sounds well and good but in reality… It took over 10 hours, online time, for me to complete the online application and i had little of meds i will be taking the rest of my life. The statement claims to take about an hour to complete. Main reaason it took so long is the large volume of medical documentaton of joint damage in my lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spines. I have 7 or 8 ¨normal¨ segments, i have 8 or 9 disc herniations, there is 21 or 22 segments. Multi level fusions offer a slim chance for temporary relief, but its clear this spine is unlikely to recover. My spine itself has all manner of visible injuries seen on 3 years of lumbar MRIś to be activily worsening despite the best efforts. I see a neurosurgeon about 4 times a year to see if i need to have the fusion done, yet. I intended to work at least another year but can no longer apply any pressure to my left side and my lower lumbar and thoracic spines are intolerant of work life that. I took all the days off allowed within 10 days in an attempt to rest up and heal. As always happens, i did not heal. I worked right up until I coud no longer lift my foot. It took over a day and a half before i could get dressed and go down 3stairs. Did my best, again, to heal again, Then after a month of no improvement, i applied for my very hard earned, modest benefit. The medical documetation, (10 hours more data than the average application), included visualized evidence of joint destruction with marked deformity as well as movement limitaions–to the 2 most weight bearing joints in the body. Also included electro diagnosed neuropathy of left side hip down to toe. the pain starts on the toe and twists itself right up to my ear. As well as documenting several other severe conditions that exceed guidlines for disability.
    Mainly the presents of chronic BME spreading through the three largest backbones weak unstable structure that creates. claim was denied for medical` reasons. The injuries finally overcame me,i collected my info and appied, much like the exampe. Except the for my last resort, guarnteed, pre purchased, paid for protection was not at all available.

    Barely had (gone now) any savings due to working less than 6 months out of the year, and over 20 years of pushig a broken back suddenly gave out, even more worse symotoms than ever. Now an appeal to file and of course my vehicle quits. Iḿ looking at hospitalization and simultaneous eviction because my safety net was pulled away at the neediest time in my lfe. Its my oopinion that anyone can see this case overqualifies on medical grounds. in fact, medical reaons strongly support disability. when joint reconstruction is unlikely to improve the two most weight bearing joints in the body and they are made up the three worst of the bleeding arthritic bruised bones in the body. this indivdual has qualified. thats less than half my spinal health issues! DENIED. May not want to talk up how quick and easy it is
    claim your earned benefit. Im scared that there may be more people like me, about to lose everthing they own. For no rational reason they turned me down . I have no way to move and no where to store any belongings. Meanwhile my health plummets further while i wait for eviction in an ice cold february home. cant even walk away


    cant, stand ,walk or

    • Marc P.

      And the worst part of your story is one you didn’t mention – the people who scream about all the able-bodied people who are just “too lazy to work” living like kings/queens on SSDI after having their doctor simply write a note about a bad back…In fact, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of that type comment right here in this thread, sooner or later. Some of these are quite nasty, and never fail to make my blood boil, particularly when I think that one such individual who spews such rhetoric is the president himself, as well as numerous others in Congress. They use this false claim as their excuse to get rid of SSDI. It makes me sick, frankly. I wish you the best, and hope you don’t give up. Have you appealed, or had an administrative hearing?

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