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Applying for disability benefits
You can apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. Generally, applications may be made by telephone or mail, as well as in person.
Benefits for the self-employed
If you're self-employed, there are some rules you'll need to know, regarding social security benefits. As long as you make at least $400 net per year, report this income, and pay social security taxes on it, you can be eligible for all social security benefits.
Defining Social Security disability
The social security administration defines disability as any physical or mental problem that prevents you from working; the condition must be expected to last at least a year, or result in death.
Disability benefits for children
Children may also be eligible for disability benefits. However, the definition of disability is somewhat different. First, the child is required to have a physical or mental condition that can be medically proven, and which causes marked and severe functional limitations.
Disability benefits for people with HIV
When they are no longer able to work, people with hiv infection or aids may also qualify for disability benefits. These benefits could come from one of two programs: either social security disability insurance, or ssi - which means supplemental security income.
Disabled widow and widower benefits
When a worker entitled to Social Security Benefits dies, the surviving spouse, age 60 or older, may qualify for survivor benefits. A surviving spouse, age 50 or older, may qualify only if disabled.
Medicare if you are disabled
In general, Medicare is designed as a national health insurance program for those 65 and older. However, if you are disabled, you may qualify for Medicare before that age.
Other disability benefits
Some disabled persons may also be eligible for other types of government benefits; when this happens, it can affect the amount of social security disability benefits you receive.
The social security and S-S-I programs have special work incentives, to help disabled persons who want to resume working. One of these is a vocational rehabilitation program.
Reviewing your disability
Those who receive disability benefits are periodically reviewed, to determine if they are still disabled. How often you're reviewed depends on the nature and severity of your condition, and whether it's expected to improve.
Rules for blind persons
Social security considers a person to be blind if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your strong eye, or if you have a visual field of 20 degrees or less, even with corrective lenses.
Self-employed and you become disabled
Just like a regular worker, those who are self-employed can earn social security credits, that help protect them in case of disability. A person is said to be self-employed if he or she operates a trade, business or profession, either alone or with a partner.
Signing up for disability - how to apply
As soon as you become disabled, you may apply for disability at any social security office. You may also apply by phone or mail. The claims process for disability usually takes longer than for other social security benefits.
The disability and determination services team
Once your application is submitted to the social security office, it is first reviewed there, to see if you may qualify for disability benefits. Social security looks at factors like your age, how long you've worked, and how recently you worked.
The review process
If you're unhappy with the social security administration's response to a claim for benefits, the administrative review process could help you. All requests for review must be submitted in writing, and time limits may apply.
Work incentives - trial work period
Whether you're a disabled person entering the work force for the first time, or trying to get back to work, social security provides a number of incentives to help you.
You have hired a household worker
A household worker is someone you hire to work in or around your home: for example, a nanny, a maid, a cook, or a gardener. If you pay a household worker $1,100 or more in cash wages during a year, you are required to pay their social security and medicare taxes, and report the wages on your tax return.

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