Disability, SSI

Prepare for your disability interview: tips from Social Security

February 23, 2017 • By

Last Updated: March 17, 2021

man writing in wheelchairWhen a person becomes disabled, it can be a very stressful time in their life. There are many questions and unknowns when you have to transition out of the workforce due to medical issues. While an employer may offer short or long-term disability, most people faced with a disability will file for benefits with Social Security.

If you’re facing life with a disability and don’t know where to start, we encourage you to visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi. You can apply for benefits on our website; it’s the most convenient way. Additionally, you can contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or visit your local office if you wish to apply for disability benefits. When applying for benefits, you should be prepared to answer a number of questions including:

  • When your conditions became disabling:
    • Dates you last worked;
    • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of visits to your doctors;
    • The names of medications that you take and medical tests you’ve had; and
    • Marital information.
  • In addition, if you plan on applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments, for people with low income who haven’t paid enough in Social Security taxes to be covered, we will ask you questions about:
    • Your current living arrangement, including who lives there and household expenses;
    • All sources of income for you and your spouse, if applicable; and
    • The amount of your resources, including bank account balances, vehicles, and other investments.

You can view our disability starter kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm.

Remember, we are there when you might be faced with one of the hardest obstacles of your life. Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow with critical benefits for people with severe disabilities, not just during retirement. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.


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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Comments

  1. Stefani

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  2. Berry

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  3. Lori P.

    The majority of what I hear about regarding actually getting disability is disheartening.
    There are so many rules, restrictions, mandates, etc.
    In some cases the applicant is deceased by the time the government gets around to making a decision.
    Generally, the majority of people who apply are denied the first time, regardless of their conditions.
    We pay into a system, not of our choice, that we cannot access when we truly need it.
    The frustration and humiliation a disabled individual has to go through in order to obtain disability is un-American.
    Still, don’t give up. Although it appears that that is what the government is hoping the majority of applicant’s will do.
    Jump through the hoops, be relentless in following what appears to be a never ending red tape road, and eventually, hopefully while you are still alive, not homeless, and still in your right mind, success can be achieved.
    Maybe one day someone in a position of power will advocate for the much needed changes in our disability program.
    Americans are well aware, this is just one of many programs in need of change.
    Hey, Ray, it could start with you.
    Good luck and God bless America

  4. Rebecca W.

    I have been fighting for mine for 3 years, and denied 3 times, I will not give up, I have bi-lateral Osteoarthritis, which makes it difficult to walk and due to my hips turning in does not help. Firbromyalgia, Raynaud’s, Essential tremors, 30% hearing loss, spinal stenosis. I’m at a loss here.

  5. Malatya E.

    thanks for sharing.
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  6. Deborah B.

    Once the interview is complete how long will it take to find out if your eligible for a child ssi? Same day or weeks? My daughter was just diagnoised she is blind and has lost vision in one eye. Not one doctor caught this in all the years and she was a premie as well. Birth defect no excuse it could have been prevented.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question Deborah. To make a determination, your child’s disability claim must be sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state, which will make a decision based on the medical evidence. The length of time it takes to receive a decision on a disability claim, can vary depending on several factors; primarily, the nature of the disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from doctors or other medical sources, and if the claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. We hope this helps.

      • Deborah B.

        Thank you for replying . You answered my question.

    • Ann C.

      To make that determination, your child’s disability claim must be sent to the Disability Determination Services office in your state which will make a decision based on the medical evidence. The length of time it takes to receive a decision on a disability claim can vary depending on several factors; primarily, the nature of the disability, how quickly we obtain medical evidence from doctors or other medical sources, and if the claim is randomly selected for a quality assurance review of the decision. We use the same five-step process to make a decision on each application. We hope this helps.

  7. virat

  8. Marcie M.

    I’ve met all of your conditions for Disability, but I was still denied and now in Review. I can’t sit for long periods and I can’t walk because after 2 back surgies, my surgeon paralyzed me! I could walk and drive and use the restroom, now I cannot, yet SSDI says I am able to gain employment! How? I have a Attorney, but I only talked to him twice. Once when I hired him and 2nd when I told the secretary I was going to kill myself and my life is worthless now stuck in a bed.
    How can we trust and depend on services when they don’t follow their own rules?

  9. Lori S.

    My son’s father passed away this week. My son is 26 and has been disabled since birth. He is enrolled in the CLASS program and has Medicaid. He has never worked. His father paid child support up until his death, so my son has never been enrolled for benefits. Does my son apply for benefits as a survivor? Can I enroll him online?

    • Ray F.

      An “adult disabled child” may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record. The following rules apply:
      The disabling impairment must have started before age 22, and; He must meet the definition of disability for adults.
      At this time you cannot apply for disabled adult child’s benefits online. If you wish to file for benefits, contact your local Social Security office directly. Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment. Representatives are available Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  10. Hattie H.

    I worked for almost 30 years throughout Federal Government Agencies including the office of Secretary William E. Bennett at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC., After my having suffered a major stroke in 1994 I could no longer work. At that Time I had not enough working quarters in order to qualify for social security benefits. My husband and my three children for many years have been really good with helping me the best they can, which has been really hard for them. My retirement check which I receive every month is less than $500.00 a month. Since 1994 I’ve tried with getting social security help but to no avail. Please allow me to hear from you soon. “Many thanks!” Hattie H. Small.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Hattie. You must earn a certain number of credits to qualify for Social Security benefits. The number of credits you need depends on your age when you apply and the type of benefit application. No one needs more than 40 credits for any Social Security benefit. Some Federal employees and employees of State or local government agencies may be eligible for pensions that are based on earnings not covered by Social Security.

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