Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Program Description

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits are a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). Social Security pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you have worked long enough and have a medical condition that has prevented you from working or is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or end in death. Studies show that a 20-year-old worker has a 1-in-4 chance of becoming disabled before reaching full retirement age.

General Program Requirements

To qualify for this benefit program, you must:

  • Be unable to work because you have a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  • Not have a partial or short-term disability
  • Meet SSA’s  definition of a disability
  • Younger than your full retirement age

Certain family members of disabled workers may be eligible to receive benefits based on the work of the disabled worker.

Based on the information you gave, although you indicated that you have a disability, your medical condition must be so severe that you will be unable to work for at least 12 months. Social Security does not provide temporary or short-term disability benefits. If your doctor changes the estimate for how long your condition will last, you should contact SSA to apply for benefits.

To see the listing of impairments that can qualify for disability, visit the "Adult Listing of Impairments" page. Even if your condition is not included in the listing, you still could get benefits.

Your Next Steps

The following information will lead you to the next steps to apply for this benefit.

Application Process

Visit the Apply For Social Security Benefits webpage to apply online.

Program Contact Information

Would you like more information about disability benefits? 

Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review "Disability," Social Security Publication Number 05-10029.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Visit SSA’s Publications Home page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

Or for additional information on this and any SSA benefit, call:
1-800-772-1213 (TTY: 1-800-325-0778)