Q: I understand that to get Social Security disability benefits, my disability must be expected to last at least a year. Do I have to wait a year before I can apply for benefits?
A: No. If you believe your disability will last a year or longer, apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. It can take three to four months to process an application. If your application is approved, we will pay your first Social Security disability benefits for the sixth full month after the date your disability began.
SSI rules outlined
Q: What are the rules for getting Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? I'm thinking about applying.
A: To be eligible to receive SSI benefits, you must be disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. You also must have limited income and resources. Income is defined as wages, Social Security benefits, and pensions. Income also includes food and shelter you receive from others. Social Security does not count all of your income when deciding whether you qualify for SSI. Resources include bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds. You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth no more than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple). Learn more by reading our publication, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11000.html.
This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.