About Social Security
Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI provides critical financial help to aged, blind, and disabled people who have limited income and resources. Learn if the person you are helping qualifies and help them apply.
Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI)
The SSDI program pays disability benefits to you and certain family members who meet our definition of disability if you worked long enough – and recently enough – under Social Security. It’s important to be prepared before filing an application for disability benefits. We have important information about the basics of the SSDI program, eligibility criteria, and the application process to make it easier to help.
Understand How Benefits Might Be Expedited for SSI or SSDI Benefits
We encourage anyone who may be eligible for SSI or SSDI to apply as soon as they become disabled. It’s important to check eligibility requirements (please refer to the first two items on this page for information about eligibility).
For some individuals with diagnoses of diseases and other medical conditions that, by definition, meet our standards for disability benefits, SSA offers the Compassionate Allowances (CAL) program that helps us reduce waiting time for a disability determination. These conditions primarily include certain cancers, adult brain disorders, and a number of rare disorders that affect children. The CAL program uses the same rules when evaluating both SSDI and SSI programs.
For SSDI, we pay SSDI benefits beginning in the sixth full month of disability. This is referred to as a 5-month waiting period. However, under the law, qualifying individuals living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — are exempt from this waiting period.
Estimate Their Future Benefits
How much a person will get in monthly benefits will vary based on a number of factors, including the type of benefit.
For Social Security benefits, how long a person worked, their earnings amounts, and other factors, will determine monthly benefits. To help estimate benefit amounts, we encourage you or someone you care about to create a my Social Security account to see estimates in their online Social Security Statement. The account also provides safe and secure access to a variety of services, like requesting a replacement Social Security or Medicare card, printing a proof of benefits, and much more.
For SSI benefits, some states pay a supplemental SSI amount in additional to the Federal amount.
Get Help with Social Security Business
If someone you know needs assistance with their Social Security business, Social Security has information available that can help. They may need someone to assist them through the entire process of applying for benefits, and need to appoint a professional such as an attorney or a caseworker. Maybe they want us to disclose their information or records to someone else, such as a friend. This brief video, What to do if you need help with your Social Security business, explains both Representation and Disclosure.
Get Legal or Advocacy Help
Your local Social Security office lists legal referral services and non-profit organizations (such as legal aid services and local bar associations, meal assistance and more) that either provide services free of charge or help you find a representative. After selecting the zip code of your local Social Security office, look for Local Agencies on the page that can assist with these and other support services in your community.
If you need to represent someone through the application process, visit our Representing Social Security Claimants page. For advocates or third-party organizations assisting others, please visit our Appointed Representative Services page.
Working While Disabled
If someone you know is receiving Social Security Disability benefits or SSI Disability, Social Security has information available that can help people make decisions about working.
- How Work Affects Disability Benefits: Social Security has rules that make it possible for disabled individuals to work and receive their benefits. These rules include work incentives like the Trial Work Period and Extended Period of Eligibility and the Ticket to Work program.
- How Work Affects SSI Disability Benefits: SSI has rules that make it possible for disabled individuals to work and receive their benefits and maintain eligibility for Medicaid. These rules include work incentives like the Extended Period of Eligibility and the Ticket to Work program.
Request a Dire Need Payment
We may be able to make an emergency advance payment to new applicants who face a financial emergency and who are due benefits that are delayed or not received. If you think someone you care about may qualify, call their local Social Security office.
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