The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. While these two programs are different in many ways, both are administered by the Social Security Administration and only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.
Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are "insured," meaning that you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes.
Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.
When you apply for either program, we will collect medical and other information from you and make a decision about whether or not you meet Social Security's definition of disability.
Use the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool to find out which programs may be able to pay you benefits.
If your application has recently been denied, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of our decision about your eligibility for disability benefits.
If your application is denied for:
- Medical reasons, you can complete and submit the required Appeal Request and Appeal Disability Report online.
The disability report asks you for updated information about your medical condition and any treatment, tests or doctor visits since we made our decision.
- Non-medical reasons, you should contact your local Social Security Office to request the review. You also may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213, to request an appeal. People who are deaf or hard of hearing can call our toll-free TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
Testimony of Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, before the Senate Finance Committee on SSA's plans to reduce Disability backlogs.
Summary of Initiatives to Eliminate the SSA Hearing Backlog - Addendum
More InformationHow We Decide If You Are Disabled (Step 4 and Step 5)
Disability Determination Process
Benefits for Children with Disabilities
Green Book - Consultative Examinations: Guide for Health Professionals
Blue Book - Disability Evaluation Under Social Security
Service to the Homeless
Americans With Disabilities
Intellectual Disabilities [Disclaimer]