Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

Program Description

These benefits are paid to people who have earned enough Social Security credits and who are unable to work because of a disability that has lasted or will last for at least 12 months or end in death.

You could get Social Security disability benefits if:

  • you have enough work credits,
  • you have enough recent work and
  • your medical condition meets our disability rules.

If you worked for a Federal, State, or local government and only paid the Medicare portion of the Social Security tax, contact us.

If you'd like to get an estimate of how much your monthly benefit might be, use the link below to request a Social Security Statement. If you have a Statement, use the link to our Benefits Calculators.

Would you like more information about disability benefits?
Use the link below to our Publications Home Page and review our publication "Disability," Social Security Publication Number 05-10029.

You can apply for disability benefits by choosing "Contact Us" to make an appointment.

What We Mean By "Disability"
Social Security's definition of disability is different than that of other programs. We pay only for total disability we do not pay for partial disability or for short-term disability.

Social Security's disability definition is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • you cannot do work that you did before,
  • we decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s), and
  • your disability lasts or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

To see the listing of impairments that can qualify for disability, use the link below to the "Adult Listing of Impairments." Even if your condition is not included in the listing, you still could get benefits. To find out more about how we decide if you are disabled, use the link below to our Publications Home Page and review "Disability," Social Security Publication Number 05-10029.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
Use the link below to our Publications Home page and review "Social Security: How You Earn Credits," Social Security Publication Number 05-10072.

PLEASE NOTE: If you get (or will get) a pension based on work for an employer who did not withhold Social Security taxes, such as a government agency or an employer in another country, your Social Security benefits may be reduced. Use the link below to our Publications Home Page and review A Pension from Work Not Covered by Social Security, Social Security Publication Number 05-10045 and Government Pension Offset, Social Security Publication Number 05-10007.

Your Next Steps

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

Application Process

For more information, see the Program Contact Information below.

Program Contact Information

For more information on this program and how to apply, call Social Security's toll-free number:
1-800-772-1213

People who are hearing impaired may call Social Security's toll-free TTY number:
1-800-325-0778

Would you like more information about child insurance benefits? 
Visit SSA’s Publications Home Page and review "Social Security Benefits for Children”, Social Security Publication Number 05-10085.

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.

To review the Adult Listing of Impairments, visit:
http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook

To use our benefits calculators, visit
http://www.ssa.gov/planners/calculators.htm

To request a copy of your Social Security Statement that will include an estimate of your retirement or disability benefit, visit
http://www.ssa.gov/mystatement

Applications for this program can be obtained through this website:
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/applyforbenefits