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Understanding Social Security Disability—An Overview of the Basics

By / Facts / 484 Comments

Get understandable answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability and Medicare. Find out where and how to get legal help with your Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) claim.

Enhance your chances of filing a successful claim for disability benefits by increasing your general understanding of Social Security benefits. Learn how you can qualify for disability benefits based on your own work history or in some circumstances based on the work credits of your parents or your deceased spouse. Get help in determining which cease work date to claim as your disability date when you have tried to return to work after you first became disabled.

Be sure to take advantage of additional potential benefits. Learn when you can get health insurance through Medicare or Medicaid, how workers compensation benefits may or may not affect your disability benefit payment, and when and how your children and spouse may be eligible for Social Security dependent benefits.

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Get started on preparing a strong claim for disability benefits and identifying all other benefits you may be eligible for using the information in these articles:

De-coding Social Security’s Definition of Disability

Increase your chances of being approved for disability benefits and get the most back benefits possible. Understand Social Security’s definition of disability to file an effective application while claiming the most advantageous date of disability onset. Read More

More Than One Way to Get Disability Benefits

Do you have too few work credits for Social Security Disability on your earnings record and too many assets for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability? Find out when you can receive disability benefits on a relative’s earnings record. Read More

Permanent Disability Is Not Required to Get Benefits

This article busts the myth that applying for disability benefits is a promise to be permanently disabled and gives a good reason for applying for benefits even if you expect to recover and even if you have other income. Read More

How You Get Work Credits to Become Insured for Social Security Disability

To receive disability (SSD aka SSDI) benefits, you must be fully insured and currently insured. This article explains what each mean and details how to get the work credits needed to meet both insured-status requirements. Get tips on how to view your earnings record and, if need be, get it corrected. Read More

Getting Disability Payments Without a Work History or Without Recent Work

All is not lost when you do not have enough work credits or enough recent work to get disability. You may qualify for Social Security benefits as a disabled dependent and disabled survivor of an insured worker. Plus, you may be able to secure income from another federal disability program that doesn’t require work credits. Read More

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Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability

Explore the reasons for applying for disability (SSDI) while receiving workers compensation and find out how SSDI benefits are calculated when workers compensation offset applies. Become aware of the pitfalls of quickly spending a workers compensation lump-sum payment. Read More

Medicare and Medicaid Health Insurance

These two government health insurance programs are usually accessed through Social Security entitlement or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) eligibility. However, sometimes a person can get Medicare or Medicaid coverage without drawing Social Security or being eligible for SSI. Also, see how to get help with paying Medicare premiums. Read More

Family Benefits for a Disabled Worker’s Spouse and Children

Dependent benefits can be paid to the families of disabled workers who are eligible for Social Security Disability when the worker has a strong enough work history to ensure dependents and when relationship and dependency requirements are met. See how dependent benefit amounts vary depending on the worker’s earnings record. Read More

Social Security Disability Glossary of Terms

Keep this informative list of important definitions handy. It will help you navigate getting and receiving disability benefits. Read More

Getting Disability Benefits after Becoming Disabled from a Physical Job

Learn when you can and when you cannot get disability benefits after you can no longer do a physical job. Read More

SSA Doesn’t Deal in Percentages of Disability

See how Social Security’s definition of disability and benefit amounts are different from payments from the Veterans Administration and from workers compensation. Read More

Your Assets and Income As Related to Social Security Disability

Nothing you own will keep you from getting disability and there are only a couple kinds of income that will reduce Social Security Disability benefits. Find out what they are. Read More

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Social Security Disability for Non-Citizens

Learn about the two extra requirements non-US citizens must meet in order to receive disability benefits. Read More

When Disability Begins in a Period of Unemployment

Find out when you can get disability even if you become disabled while you are unemployed. Get a link to detailed information on the time period in which you must have work credits and how many credits you needed to have earned in that period. Read More

Getting Disability Benefits from a Deceased Spouse’s Earning Record

Find out at what age you can first receive disabled widows or widowers benefits and when a disabled surviving divorced spouse can get benefits, too. Get a link to Medicare and Medicaid eligibility information. Read More

Short-term Disability Due to an Accident

Find out how long you have to be disabled for your temporary disability to qualify for SSDI or SSI disability benefits. Read More

Social Security Disability Requirements: How to Qualify for SSD

Look at a series of questions that may help you decide whether or not to apply for Disability. Read More

Predicting the Outcome of a Disability Claim

See some reasons why it can be difficult to predict whether or not you will be found disabled according to Social Security law. Learn how an experienced Social Security attorney might be able to offer an educated opinion. Read More

Total Incapacitation Not Required

Bust the myth about Social Security requiring “total” disability and get some information about how a person might even be considered disabled and eligible for benefits while working. Read More

Switching from Early Retirement Benefits to Disability Benefits

Check out the positive effects of switching from early retirement benefits to disability benefits and get tips on how to count the five-month, unpaid benefit waiting period. Read More

The Effect of Criminal Conviction on Social Security Disability Benefits

Find out whether and how soon your Social Security benefits will be suspended if you are convicted of a crime and incarcerated or confined to certain other facilities. Learn what happens to your family’s dependent benefits when yours are suspended. Get information on when your benefits will resume after release. Read More

When Disability and Dependent Benefits Are Taxable

Find out how much, if any, of your Social Security benefits, will be taxed by the federal government or your state. Read More

Social Security Disability Insurance: A Brief Overview

Get information about when your benefits will start, the day of the month the benefits will be paid, and how your benefits will be sent to you. Pick up some general information about Social Security Disability including the average Social Security Disability benefit. Read More

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Security Disability

Get quick answers to the most common questions about Social Security Disability. Read More

More Frequently-Asked Questions about Social Security Disability Benefits

Use this quick reference to de-code the Social Security Administration’s many abbreviations and get answers about subjects such as how DDS goes about evaluating your claim, why it takes so long to get an Appeals Council decision, and once approved how long disability benefits continue. Read More

9 Common Mistakes Regarding Social Security Disability Benefits

Get all the benefits you are eligible for by avoiding these common mistakes and taking the recommended corrective actions. Read More

7 Common Misconceptions about Social Security Disability Benefits

Get the encouragement and knowledge you need to successfully obtain Social Security Disability benefits. Overcome false beliefs that may be keeping you from getting all the benefits you are entitled to. Read More


Would you like more important information about disability benefit approvals? Check out these articles about:

Applying for Benefits

Find out where, when, and how to apply for Social Security and SSI disability benefits. Get tips on completing an application and on what to do while you wait for it to be processed. Learn More

The Social Security Disability/SSI Claims Process for Adults

Get detailed information about how your adult disability claim is evaluated. Learn how your age, education, and work experience play a part in the disability decision and find out when a claim approval can be expedited as a compassionate allowance. Read More

Appealing If You Are Denied

If you are denied, you can appeal within a limited period of time and have your claim looked at again for possible approval. Get information about how reconsideration, hearing, and Appeals Council appeals differ and about how to select and work with a Social Security attorney on your appeal. Read More

Disability Hearings

Your hearing of a denied claim is your “day in court.” It is your best chance for approval after being denied at an initial claim. Find out what to do while waiting for your hearing date and what to expect at the hearing.
Read More

After You are Approved

Get details on when benefits may start after a medical approval and how back benefits are calculated as well as when your benefits must be paid to a representative payee. Find out how long disability benefits will continue, whether you can work while getting disability benefits, and what life changes must be reported to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Read More

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays disability benefits to individuals with little or no work history. In addition to disability, income and assets determine whether you are eligible for SSI and if so how much you will be paid. Learn when a spouse’s or a minor child’s parents’ income and assets affect SSI eligibility and payment amount. Read More

Commonly Used SSDI and SSI Forms

Whether you are applying for disabled-worker benefits, for the disabled dependent or survivor benefits, or for SSI as a disabled individual, click on the link above to reach the application forms you need. Take advantage of previewing these forms just to be sure you don’t forget something important when the time comes to file your application. Read More

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Understanding Social Security Disability—An Overview of the Basics
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