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.

Would you like more information about disability benefits?
View our Publications 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).
  • Your disability lasts or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

To find out more about how Social Security decides if you are disabled, visit SSA's Publications Page, select "Disability" under “Topics,” and review Social Security Publication Number 05-10029.

Would you like more information about social security credits?
View our Publications 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. View our Publications 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.

Program Requirements

You may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You have enough work credits.
  • You have enough recent work.
  • 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.

Contact Information

For more information on Social Security benefits and how to apply, call Social Security's toll-free number:

Benefit Categories
Disability Assistance Social Security
Insurance Social Security