If you are sick or injured and feel as though you cannot continue working, you should file a claim with the Social Security Administration [SSA].
So, what do you apply for? There are several programs that you may be eligible for: Supplemental Security Income [SSI], Social Security Disability Insurance [SSDI], or Social Security Retirement [which is age related].
Basically, SSI is for very low income single persons, or persons with very low income living with a low income family. In most states, SSI automatically makes you eligible for full Medicaid [not Medicare] benefits, which is usually administered by the State Department of Welfare or Health and Human Services, or DHS, or whatever it happens to be called in your state. You will likely also be eligible for the Federal Food Stamp Program. Check with your local Welfare office for eligibility for Medicaid and Food Stamps, but your SSI Application should go directly to the local SSA Office, or you can apply online.
Here is info on SSI from the SSA website on SSI:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):
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.
Am I eligible for SSI benefits? This link will take you to the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool. By taking 5 to 10 minutes to answer a few questions, you can find out if you are eligible for SSI or other benefits. (See also more detailed information on SSI Eligibility Requirements.)
SSDI is for those who have worked long enough to have paid into the Social Security Retirement system through payroll deductions. If you are disabled by disease or injury, you should be eligible for SSDI.
Here is info from the SSA's page on SSDI:
We pay disability benefits under two programs:
The Social Security disability insurance program pays benefits to you and certain family members if you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
Your adult child also may qualify for benefits on your earnings record if he or she has a disability that started before age 22.
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources.
SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits.
For most people, the medical requirements for disability payments are the same under both programs and disability is determined by the same process.
Whether you apply for Social Security or SSI disability, we ask you for information about your medical condition, work and education history to help us decide if you are disabled under our rules.
If you are over 61 years of age, you should make use of the retirement calculator below and get figures on your Social Security Retirment benefits.
How the Social Security Retirement Planner can help you now:
This planner provides detailed information about your Social Security retirement benefits under current law and points out things you may want to consider as you prepare for the future. If you are:
Looking for information, you can:
Find your retirement age,
Use our Retirement Estimator and our other benefit calculators to test different retirement ages or future earnings amounts, Learn about Social Security programs, Find out what happens if you work after you retire, and Learn how certain types of earnings and pensions can affect your benefits.
Already near retirement age, you can:
Discover your retirement options, Get information about how members of your family may qualify for benefits, Find instructions on how to apply for benefits and what supporting documents you'll need to furnish, and Apply for retirement benefits.
Reminder: You need to sign up for Medicare close to your 65th birthday, even if you will not be retired by that time. (If you are getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, your Medicare Hospital Benefits start automatically.)
Finally, it is not necessary to travel to your local Social Security Administration Office to file an application, but it is advised. The Online Application is long and tedious, much like the DVA's VONAPP application.
Here is information from the SSA website about Applying for benefits:
Apply as soon as you become disabled. Most of the application forms can be completed online, depending on the type of benefit for which you apply:
Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI)
You can complete both the Application and Adult Disability and Work History Report online.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
You can complete the online Adult Disability and Work History Report. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security Office to set up an appointment to complete the SSI application form in person or over the phone.
Disability benefits for children
You can complete the Child Disability Report online. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) or contact your local Social Security Office to set up an appointment to complete the rest of the application in person or over the phone.
Once again, we advocate going to your local Social Security Office to apply for these benefits. They will assist you in completing your claim, and help you obtain supporting documentation. They are much, much nicer about it than the DVA folks.
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