How do I take care of myself if I am disabled?

A person who is disabled may apply for Social Security Disability if he or she has a work record or apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if there is an insufficient work record. Applications are filed at the local Social Security Administration Office. If your application is denied, you may appeal and have the matter heard by an Administrative Law Judge. You should consult an attorney if you appeal. The attorney can be paid from back Social Security benefits if you win the appeal. “Disability” under Social Security Disability benefits is based on your inability to work. You are considered disabled under Social Security rules if (1) you cannot do work that you did before; (2) you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition and age and education; and, (3) your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death. Also, you need a certain number of “credits” calculated using wages and years of work. Younger workers may qualify with fewer credits. 

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources and who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled. Disability is determined similarly to Social Security Disability. However, folks who do not have sufficient work history may qualify for SSI. 

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