Health and Public Benefits

Social Security disability programs

You can apply to the Social Security Administration for cash assistance if you are disabled and no longer able to work. Read more to find out if you might be eligible and how to apply. 

Follow these steps to make sure that you get or keep all the benefits and tax credits you are eligible for in 2022:

  • File your 2021 tax return. Even if you aren’t required to or don’t normally file your taxes. There are changes to the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit that you can only get if you file 2021 taxes.
  • Update your household info with ODJFS. Many people have been displaced or experienced changes in their lives during the pandemic. Update your Medicaid and SNAP cases to make sure you keep your benefits and know when deadlines are coming up. Call (844) 640-6446 or go to "Government and Community Resources" on this page to find the contact information for your local ODJFS office. 
  • Update your household info with your child’s school. Schools need to keep your information up to date so your child(ren) receive available free or reduced-price school meals and Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) funds. If your child is out of school because of a COVID-19 related reason, make sure to report the reason for their absence to your child’s school so that they may receive P-EBT funds for qualifying absences. Even if your child is receiving free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, submit a new National School Meals Program application to your school so that they do not lose access if they are still eligible after the pandemic. Learn more at ohiopebt.org.
Send this page to:

Understanding the Basics

See what you need to know to take action.

The Social Security Administration has 2 programs that can provide cash assistance to people with disabilities. 

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is based on work history. It is for people who have paid into the system, but who are no longer able to work due to disability. 
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on need. It is for people who haven't worked much, if at all, due to disability. 

Eligibility for SSDI and SSI

To qualify for SSDI, you must:

To qualify for SSI, you must:

Applying for SSI and SSDI

The application process can take several months. If your medical condition is on the list of “Compassionate Allowances," your application may be approved more quickly.

Your application will be reviewed for both SSI and SSDI at the same time. You may hear back that you don't qualify for one of the programs while your application for the other is still pending. 

The first step to apply is opening an account with the Social Security Administration. Once you have an account you can apply for disability online. You can also apply in person or over the phone. Call (800) 772-1213 to make an in-person or phone appointment to apply.

Mail in copies of any medical records that you have with your application. This will help them process your application more quickly. You can also bring your documents to your local Social Security Administration office if you apply in person.

Getting a lawyer

Many people get the help of a lawyer who specializes in disability and SSI. You can find nonprofits that offer free legal help in your area on this page under "Legal Help and Lawyers." A lawyer can help you figure out if you're eligible, help you apply or help you appeal a denial. 

Forms and Letters

Find forms and letters that you can fill out yourself.
There are no forms related to this topic.

Local Government and Community Resources

Find courts and helpful resources in your community.