You should apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take a long time to process an application for disability benefits (three to five months). To apply for disability benefits, you will need to complete an application for Social Security Benefits and the Disability Report. You can complete the Disability Report at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityreport.
Is your medical condition “severe”?
For the state agency to decide that you are disabled, your medical condition must significantly limit your ability to do basic work activities—such as walking, sitting and remembering—for at least one year. If your medical condition is not that severe, the state agency will not consider you disabled.
Is your medical condition on the List of Impairments?
The state agency has a List of Impairments that describes medical conditions that are considered so severe that they automatically mean that you are disabled as defined by law. If your condition (or combination of medical conditions) is not on this list, the state agency looks to see if your condition is as severe as a condition that is on the list.
After you start receiving disability benefits, you may want to try working again.
There are special rules that help you keep your cash benefits and Medicare while you test your ability to work. We call these rules “work incentives” or “employment support” programs.
You will get Medicare coverage automatically after you have received disability benefits for two years.