The most common question that I get as a social security lawyer is how I can apply for social security benefits. The first thing I tell my clients is that there are two programs you may be eligible for- SSD- social security disability benefits and SSI- social security supplemental benefits.
In order to apply for SSD you must have enough work credits in order to be eligible for SSD. The general rule is that you need 40 works credits, 20 of which were earned within the last ten years ending with the year that you became disabled. However, if you are 30 or under, you may qualify for SSD even if you do not have 40 work credits.
You can apply for SSD online, by telephone, by mail or in an in person visit to your local social security office. Before you complete your application you should have a full list of all of your medical professionals with names and addresses, dates that you have seen those professionals, dates of any medical tests performed, a complete list of your medications, a complete work history for the last 15 years, information on any past marriages that lasted 10 or more years, workers’ compensation phone numbers and addresses and amount of money earned this and last year. The fastest way to complete your application is online. See here for a complete list of documents that you will need.
For SSI you do not need to have any work credits. You do, however, have to be in a very low income bracket and have no resources over $2000 if you are an individual and $3000 if you are a couple. Your house and car do not generally count as resources, but there are exceptions. For example, you have to live in the house in order for it to not count as a resource. You will need all of the same information that you need to file for SSD, but you must also provide all financial information regarding your income and resources. You can fill out an application online to give the social security administration all of the information they need, but that is not enough to start a SSI application. You MUST either have a phone interview or an in person interview in order to apply for SSI benefits. The online application just gives the social security administration the information they need to process your application once you have your phone or in person interview.
Clients then ask many other questions such as what are resources and what are the income limits-Click here for further income and resource explanations.
Please remember that this is just general information, and everyone’s situation is unique. This article should not be considered legal advice.