The Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to people that can’t work due to a disabling condition, whether they are born with the condition or develop it later in life. There are two types of disability benefits. Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI, provides benefits to people that worked for a while in the past but cannot work any longer. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, provides benefits to people that never worked or did not work long enough to qualify for SSDI. You must meet strict income guidelines to qualify for SSI, though.
Visit your local Social Security Administration office to begin an application for SSDI or SSI. You can also begin an application for SSDI online but you must visit the Security Administration office to apply for SSI. If you’ve had your disabling condition from birth, you may not have worked in the past which means you’d need to apply for SSI. You can request a statement from the Social Security Administration to find out if you might qualify for SSDI, though.
Provide names and addresses of all health care providers you’ve seen for your condition. For a condition you’ve had since birth, you should include names and addresses of pediatricians and other providers that treated you during childhood and even infancy if you can. Ask your parents to help you compile this information. If you can’t get a complete list, that’s all right, just do the best you can. Keep in mind that some providers may no longer practice in your area and even if they do, many health care providers only keep records for a limited period of time so some of your records may no longer be available. You don’t have to request the records yourself, just provide a list of all providers to the Social Security Administration.
Provide names and addresses of all schools you attended if you needed any special help in school, required special education services or had an Individual Education Plan. If you attended school many years ago, schools may not still have your records but you should provide the contact information anyway.
Ask your parents or other childhood caregivers to write letters describing how your condition affected you as a child and how it continues to affect you today. You can write a letter yourself providing this information from your point of view, as well. You do not have to provide letters and the Social Security Administration does not request them, but they will consider all information you send them and this information could help you win your case.
Social Security Administration. http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10029.html#part1 . Disability Benefits.
Social Security Administration. http://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ . Apply Online for Disability Benefits.