Social security disability benefits

How to apply for social security disability

Depending on certain disabling conditions, physically and mentally, the Social Security Administration (SSA) department of the US Government offers certain benefits to the person suffering from it. The conditions are generally those that disable the person from earning their wages or making enough income to support themselves. There are Social security Disability insurance and Supplemental Security income, both of which are awarded to those who have filed for disability post verification and checks.


Social security disability benefits

Not everyone will be able to apply for these benefits. One has to have at least one severe medical impairment as mentioned in the list provided by SSA. The list is divided into two parts A and B. The Part A deals with adult related medical issues while Part B is more for the children. Anyone of age above 18 years is considered as an adult while the less than 18 years is categorized into childhood listing.

Social security disability list of impairments

The Part A of the list is applicable to the adults and the Part B is for the children. If none of the category in Part B fits the symptoms or the issues faced by anyone below 18 years of age, then Part A listing is taken into consideration. There are 14 categories in Part A namely,

  1. Musculoskeletal system disorders like Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, etc.
  2. Special senses and speech related disorders
  3. Respiratory problems like Asthma
  4. Cardiovascular system issues like heart failure or high blood pressure.
  5. Digestive system related problems
  6. Genitourinary disorders like kidney failure
  7. Hematological disorders
  8. Skin problems like dermatitis, burns, etc.
  9. Endocrine disorders like obesity, diabetes.
  10. Congenital disorders affecting multiple systems
  11. Neurological disorders
  12. Mental disorders like ADHD, Anxiety, etc.
  13. Cancer – all types
  14. Immune system problems

The Part B has 15 categories related to children which include all the 14 categories of Part A and additionally a category where the child is of low weight at birth causing difficulties to survive for the child. For detailed listing on what are the diseases covered under each of these categories, you can visit the official website of SSA.

While it is required for your cause of disability to be part of this listing, it is not mandatory. There could be several other reasons due to which a person might be disabled from earning the daily income. The presence of the issue in the listing is merely one step in the process of disability filing. In such cases, where the problem is not part of the listing, the examiner will move onto the next step of verification for disability processing.

social security disability list of impairments

Are there any Social Security loopholes?

Of course, like every other complicated strategy, the social security benefits also have certain loopholes which can be exploited. The most used and exploited one is the spousal benefits which is the benefits reaped by one based on the benefits filed for by the other. The concept works like this. Let us say that one of the spouses, the husband has reached the retirement age. He can file for the benefits under social security and the wife even while working can file for spousal benefits alone and enjoy 50% of what the husband gets. So if the husband is getting say $500, then the wife will get $250 every month. So if the husband just lets the benefits suspended and reapply at 70 years, he can maximize the returns while enjoying with the wife’s half of the spousal benefit.

The social security offers 50% of your retirement benefits to your minor children as well, which if properly used and invested can really come in handy when they come of age, or when they reach 18 years of age. And this 50% will not affect that of your spouse’s 50% which means you stand to gain 100% on your benefits even after suspending it for say 5 years. Given that these are legal methods to make more money, there is no cause for feeling guilty.

Eligibility criteria for social security disability benefits

There are two main aspects which need to be fulfilled for you to be eligible for social security disability benefits schemes – SSDI and SSI.

  1. The first is that you must have worked in one of the jobs as covered by the Social security.
  2. The disability that is interfering with your job is part of the impairment list published by SSA.

Monthly cash payouts are generally made to those who are unable to earn their income for more than a year owing to a disability. These benefits continue until you are able to work again or regain your status back as a qualified person. In case the disability benefits are being received during your retirement age, then upon the FRA (full retirement age) the same will get converted to your retirement benefits.

Checking the status of your disability claim

DDS is the agency that deals with approving or denying any disability claim, be it for SSI or SSDI or both. The agency has examiners who will gather data, evaluate the claim and either approve or deny it basis their information. Whenever a claim is denied or approved, a letter is sent to the claimant by the DDS.

  1. When approved, you will receive a letter informing you of the same and also a list of benefits you will be receiving as part of the claim. The letter will be sent by the SSA itself and not the DDS in that case.
  2. When denied, the DDS will be sending you a denial letter stating the reasons for rejection.


It is therefore important that you keep your Social Security agency office appraised of any change in your mailing address. More often than not your response will reach you in 90 days from the time of filing and if not, it is prudent to check with the local Social security office. In case of SSI claims, there will be a final end line interview to see if the applicant meets the non-medical aspects for SSI disability benefits.