You can apply for SSDI and SSI at your local SSA office or by calling Social Security at 800-772-1213 to make an appointment. While you can complete an application online for SSDI, you can only start online for SSI and must go into a Social Security office to finish the application. More information can be found on the SSA website.
You will need to give SSA information about your medical conditions and treatment and how your medical conditions affect your ability to function, and your past work and education. SSA will ask you to fill out a "Disability Report" form. It is very important to provide all of the information requested about all your past and present medical treatment. Medical evidence is very important in a disability case. No matter how sick you are, you will need medical evidence of your condition to be approved for disability benefits. Therefore, it is important to get medical treatment if you are thinking about applying for SSDI or SSI.
SSA's disability determination process, for adults or children, can take a long time. SSA may give you up to 6 months of SSI benefits right away in serious situations if it presumes that you will be eligible. For example, if a person who has suffered a stroke has a great deal of difficulty walking three months later. Other qualifying conditions can be found on the SSA website. SSA has also developed a fast-track application process for situations like a terminal illness and anyone with certain serious conditions will be flagged for the quick determination process. A list of these conditions is on the SSA website.
When it makes a decision on your application, SSA will send you a notice telling you whether SSA has decided that you are disabled. The notice will explain whether you will receive benefits, and if so, in what amount.
Updated: January 2017