Social Security Disabilities

Social Security Disabilities are prevalent in our society. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to you and certain members of your family if you are insured (you worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes).  

Supplemental Security Income pays benefits based on financial need.

Disability Retirement can happen to anyone, any time! I have personally walked through disability retirement with many, and for most people, it struck them totally unexpected. They were not prepared, like most are for retirement. They didn't have savings, they were in the midst of living life and BOOM -- they are ill or injured  and with no income. Yikes!

Many of those same disabilities also did not want to quit work. They pushed even when they had no energy left.  I remember telling a few that they were spending their life energies doing work, instead of allowing themselves to heal.  BUT -- they wanted one more year of income, or another year towards retirement, or simply that they were the family provider. Lots of reasons, 

Believe it or not, studies have shown that one of four people become disabled before age 67! 

So, What Do You DO if Disability Strikes and You are Unable to Work?

What if your Disability lasts for a long time? You are without Income!

There are approximately 5.2 million adults in the USA who receive checks from Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits -- and many would have no income at all, if there was no Social Security Disability Benefit available to them.

Social Security Disability Definition

Disability is based on your inability to work.

  • You cannot do work that you did before.
  • SS decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition. Your age is also taken into consideration.
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

Disability Requirements

You need 40 credits working under Social Security, 20 of which were earned in the last 10 years ending with the year you become disabled. 

Social Security Disabilities: Medical Problems

What disabilities can you get Social Security for?  This is not an all exclusive list, but I am showing you that anything that affects your ability to do your job could work.

  • heart and lungs  
  • back and arms/legs 
  • mental 
  • immune system
  • cancer
  • neurological
  • endocrine
  • blood
  • diabetes
  • digestive

You get the gist... anything that prevents you from working your job, long term.


Social Security Disability Approval... it's not easy!

There is no guarantee that any of us have a "tomorrow" at work or even in retirement. You might be in an unexpected accident and can never work again, or have an illness that prevents work... either way, assuming you meet the disability requirements, the Social Security Disability Benefit is there for you.

This disability benefit isn't easy to get, and it often takes a few  years to get approval, but in the end, it's well worth the time and effort as it provides that lifetime income and Medicare insurance too!

Special rules make it easier to get approved for disability benefits if you are over age 50.  SSA's "ability to work" rules are more relaxed for applicants who are 50 and older. Being over 50 doesn't mean that it's easy to get approved, but age does play a factor in your chances of being approved.

Waiting Period w/o Benefits

There is a 3-5 month waiting period for Disability benefits through Social Security. This waiting period begins from the onset of your disability. You will not receive any disability pay for these first five months. 

If you have a disability and may apply for Social Security, grab a box and start dumping medical reports into it. Save everything! It's easier to save your medical history as you go, compared to trying to get it all later.

Compassionate Claims

Compassionate Claims: Faster Approvals for cancer and other well-documented claims.

Some Social Security Disability claims, sometimes called "compassionate allowances", let Social Security approve these claims with only minimal documentation. Most cancers are included, as well as other diseases that have been documented. This is good news for those who qualify as you shouldn't experience the wait, or need an attorney, like most do!

Disability Fraud

As you might expect, the Social Security Disability division gets lots of fraudulent cases, so the wait is long and the approval is even tougher. However, if you can't work, this provides an income (and Medicare) to you, and will be paid retroactively when it finally gets approved.

SS Disability Attorneys or Advocates

If you have a disability, you can apply alone. BUT consider this, you aren't well. You are likely medicated, worried about your health and income, and more.

That's why I think you will probably need a Social Security attorney... or an advocate. 

They know what needs to be submitted and how it should be written. They don't miss deadlines (miss one and your process starts all over... if you are two years into the process, yikes! The wait is often lots less when you have an educated advocate by your side!

Apply for Social Security Disability

The Social Security disability form is at this link.

Social Security Disability Kit (download)

Read more here or download the Social Security disability kit.

Disability Retirement and "Full Retirement Age"

At your full retirement age, you will be changed to a regular Social Security benefit and are no longer called a Disability.

This changes your status alone - it does not affect your benefit payment at all.





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