Apply for Federal Disability Benefits

Learn how you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Average Time of Transaction 60+ Minutes
TOP Apply for Federal Disability Benefits

What is Social Security Disability Insurance?  

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a Federal disability income program for adults who have worked and now find themselves unable to work due to a disability.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is Federal program for adults and children who meet the definition of disabled and have limited income and resources.  It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and it provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.


How does it work?

Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.  

  • The amount of your monthly benefit is based on your lifetime average earnings covered by Social Security.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid starting six months from the onset date of the disability, but no more than 12 months prior to application.
  • A claimant receives monthly benefits deposited directly into their bank  account or on a SSA Direct Express Card.

Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.

  • The amount of your monthly benefit is based on your income and resources.
  • SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits may be paid from the month of application
  • A claimant receives monthly benefits deposited directly into their bank account or on a SSA Direct Express Card.

The definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability. 

"Disability" under Social Security 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 
  • our disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. 

This is a strict definition of disability. Social Security program rules assume that working families have access to other resources to provide support during periods of short-term disabilities, including workers' compensation, insurance, savings and investments. 

Visit SSA’s website to see how they decide if you are disabled.

Anyone who believes they meet Federal Disability requirements is eligible to apply. Your family members may also receive benefits if you can no longer work due to a medical condition.

How To
How To

Refer to this step by step process to apply for disability benefits. You can save your application as you go.

  1. Check to see if you meet the requirements to apply online for disability
  2. Gather the information you need to complete the application
  3. Go To SSA Online Services
  4. Enter your information for your claim
  5. Submit your online application with the Federal Social Security Administration
  6. A disability analyst from the NYS Division of Disability Determinations will review your case and determine whether or not you are disabled according to federal guidelines.

Ready?  Have with you:

  • Birth and citizenship information:
    • Permanent resident card number (If you are not a U.S. Citizen)
  • Marriage and divorce information:
    • Spouse(s) date of birth and SSN
  • Names and birth dates of children
  • U.S. Military Service information
  • Employment details for current year and prior 2 years
  • Bank information for direct deposit
  • Name and contact information for someone who can help you with your claim
  • Contact information for your doctors, hospitals and clinics:
    • Information on where additional medical records can be obtained such as vocational rehabilitation services, and workers’ compensation
    • Job History:
      • Date your medical condition began to affect your ability to work
      • Information on additional jobs you have had
    • Your education and training information

Download the checklist for the Online Adult Disability Application from the Social Security Administration’s website


Apply for Social Security Disability Insurance


Apply by phone: Call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Apply in person: Visit your local Social Security office. (Call first to make an appointment.) 

Apply for Social Security Income

There is no online SSI Application. Schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office to file an application. Call 1-800-722-1213 (TYY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday 7 am to 7 pm.


Contact the Social Security Administration by phone Monday-Friday 7:00AM-7:00PM

If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call SSA at TTY 1-800-325-0778.


Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Division of Disability Determinations P.O. Box 165 Albany, NY 12260-0165