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Seniors and People with Disabilities


People with disabilities may qualify for federal disability programs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) oversees these programs. 

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - 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 (SSI) - Pays benefits based on financial need.

Learn more about these programs on the Social Security website.

Applying for federal benefits

When you file a claim for disability benefits, the state office of Disability Determination Services (DDS) will make the medical eligibility determination. But first, you need to apply for benefits with Social Security.


Contact your local Social Security office​ if you have questions about eligibility and how to apply for SSI or SSDI.

Contact Disability Determination Services at 800-452-2147 if you have already filed your claim and it is being evaluated for medical eligibility. A Customer Service Representative can help you.

Laws and regulations

All decisions about SSI or SSDI benefits are governed by the Social Security Administration. The Social Security Handbook includes regulations for both SSI and SSDI.

Reporting fraud

If you think someone is getting Social Security benefits they are not entitled to, learn about how to report fraud.

Tools for providers

SSA's Disability Evaluation Under Social Security (Blue Book) is a guide to help physicians and other health professionals understand the kind of information they need to provide in order to enable a sound and prompt decision.