Individuals get Social Security disability benefits by meeting the eligibility requirements and applying online, by phone or in person at a Social Security office, reports the Social Security Administration. Supplementary Security Income is obtained by calling for an appointment and applying in person at a Social Security office.
People qualify for Social Security disability benefits by working long enough to earn sufficient benefit credits and meeting the disability criteria, according to the Social Security Administration. A person is considered disabled when he is unable to perform past work, unable to perform alternate work and is likely to remain disabled for at least 12 months or is expected to die. Social Security does not pay benefits for partial or temporary disability. To assess whether an applicant meets the eligibility requirements for disability, the local Disability Determination Services considers the individual medical condition, when it began, how it inhibits activity, the results of medical tests and what treatment the applicant is receiving. Although the applicant's personal health care providers are interviewed, they do not participate in the eligibility decision.
Eligibility requirements for Supplementary Security Income are based on the applicant's condition, current income and resources, states the Social Security Administration. The disability requirements are similar to those for Social Security disability benefits. Income included in assessing limited income includes work wages, Social Security benefits, unemployment compensation, free room and board, and gifts from relatives and friends. Countable resources include cash, bank accounts, land, vehicles and other personal property convertible to cash.