Disability benefits can be paid to several groups of people:
- Disabled workers under retirement age and their families.
- Persons disabled before age 22 who continue to be disabled. These benefits are payable as early as age 18 when a parent (or stepparent or grandparent under certain circumstances) receives Social Security retirement or disability benefits or when an insured parent dies.
- Disabled widows and widowers and (under certain conditions) disabled, surviving, and divorced spouses of workers who were insured at death. These benefits are payable as early as 50. Consult your local Social Security office for the latest disability information.
The SSA determines whether or not you qualify for disability benefits based on criteria including the severity of your condition and the earnings you continue to receive after you become disabled. To be considered for disability benefits, you should file a claim with a Social Security office as soon as you become disabled. However, even if you are approved, benefits will not begin until after a waiting period of six months after the beginning of your disability.