What is Social Security Disability Insurance?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal program through which the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits to injured workers who are disabled and no longer able to work—provided their impairment is expected to last at least one year or result in death. Any disabled worker who has earned enough work credits may apply for benefits.

How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits?

  • Online: The SSDI Application Page will let you review the Disability Checklist, complete a Benefit Application, fill out the Disability Report, and receive an Authorization Form.
  • By Phone: Call the SSA toll-free at 800-772-1213. You can either make an appointment to file a claim at your local SSA office or file over the phone. The SSA’s TTY number is 800-325-0778.
  • In Person: Find your local SSA office through the SSA Office Locator. If you choose to file at your local office, consider scheduling an appointment to reduce your wait time.

What Should I Do if I’m Denied SSDI Benefits?

If you’re denied SSDI benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision. Many claims initially denied are approved on appeal. If your application was denied, you should file an appeal as soon as possible. It may take months—even years—for SSA to process your appeal.

How Can I Appeal an SSDI Denial?

After you receive a notice of denial, you typically have 60 days to file an appeal. The four levels of the appeals process include Reconsideration, a Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, the Appeals Council, and a Federal Court Review.

Do I Qualify for SSDI?

SSDI benefits are available to those who can no longer work due to a disability. The SSA evaluates applications for SSDI benefits using a five-step process. It asks if an applicant is working, is their condition severe, does their condition qualify, can they do the work they did before, and can they do any other type of work.

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