Social Security Disability

Most Social Security disability claims are initially processed through a network of local Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices and State agencies (usually called Disability Determination Services or DDSs). Later appeals of unfavorable determinations may be decided in a DDS or by an administrative law judge in SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review.


Phases of Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Introduction

When To Apply

You should apply as soon as you become disabled. If you apply for

  • Social Security, disability benefits will not begin until the sixth full month of disability. The Social Security disability waiting period begins with the first full month after the date we decide your disability began.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), we pay SSI disability benefits for the first full month after the date you filed your claim, or, if later, the date you become eligible for SSI.

How To Apply

You can apply for Disability benefits online, or if your prefer, you can apply by calling Social Security’s toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. their representatives there can make an appointment for your application to be taken over the telephone or at any convenient Social Security office.

People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call our toll-free "TTY" number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday.

Some Publications That Will Give You More Information On Disability Benefits.

The Disability Starter Kit will help you get ready for your disability interview or online application. Kits are available for adults and for children under age 18.

The starter kits provide information about the specific documents and the information that we will request from you.

The kits also provide general information about the disability programs and our decision-making process that can help take some of the mystery out of applying for disability benefits.

Here are some additional publications with information on disability benefits:

Social Security Disability Claims Process


Social Security Disability Medical Evidence


Social Security Disability Quality Review


Social Security Disability Administrative Hearing


Social Security Disability Appeals Council