Apply for Benefits

You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI):

To apply, you need to complete an application form and an Adult Disability Report.

Getting Your Application Ready

Get this information ready for your SSDI application:

  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and others who have treated you
  • Prescriptions and results of medical tests
  • Copies of medical records
  • Your Social Security Number and the Social Security Numbers of your spouse and any children under the age of 18
  • A certified copy of your birth certificate
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or of legal residency, if you were born outside the U.S., like naturalization papers, your U.S. passport, or your green card
  • A certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214), if you were in the military
  • Copies of recent tax records or W-2 forms
  • Information on any Workers’ Compensation you’ve gotten
  • A list of the types of jobs you've done for the past 15 years

Other Benefits

It takes a while for your SSDI application to be reviewed and, if you qualify, benefits don’t begin until five months after your disability began. If you are approved, you start getting monthly payments, but have to wait another two years before you automatically start getting Medicare health coverage.

While you are waiting for Social Security to review your application and then for Medicare to begin, you should see what else might help you. At first, try to use your job's sick pay or vacation pay and see whether your company has a short-term or long-term disability insurance plan.

Then, you can apply for other benefits, including:

NJ Helps can help you figure out which state benefits might help you. Then, you can apply for these benefits at your county Board of Social Services by mail or in person. You can also apply online using:

If you served in the military and are a veteran, you may also qualify for VA Disability Compensation or VA Pension benefits.

SSDI and SSI at the same time

You may qualify for SSDI and SSI benefits at the same time. The SSI program counts SSDI payments as unearned income. For a single person who lives independently, this means that if you get $822 or more per month in SSDI, you don't qualify for SSI benefits.

If you get less than $822 per month from SSDI and you don’t have any other income, you may qualify for SSI benefits. Usually, you get a combined total of $822 in benefits each month between the two programs.

For example, if you get $500 per month from SSDI and have no other income, you could get $322 per month from SSI.

Note: You have to apply for SSI separately. Learn more in DB101's SSI article.