Ice Bucket Challenge Progress

Social Security Disability


ALS is considered a presumptive eligibility diagnosis so patients do not have to prove their disability status. They are automatically enrolled as long as work guidelines are met and FICA taxes were paid that would make them eligible for Social Security Disability.


There are also SSDI benefits for some people who have not worked. There is an SSDI benefit for disabled widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses of workers who were insured when they died. This benefit applies only to people who are at least 50 years old. Also, there are SSDI benefits for adult disabled children of insured workers who died or who are entitled to SSDI retirement or disability benefits if they have been disabled since before they were 22 years old


If a person's spouse has died within the past three months, they should contact Social Security immediately. There are special provisions for filing applications for SSDI for workers who have died, but they must be filed within three months after death. Also, if someone's spouse had already filed an application for SSDI or SSI, or started the application process with SSA before he or she died, the widow/widower may be entitled to back benefits.



Eligibility for SSI is based on financial need.  In most states, individuals who qualify for SSI also qualify for Medicaid. There is no work history requirement in SSI, but limited income and assets are necessary to qualify. 


Individuals can apply for Social Security benefits by telephone, by mail, in person, and in some cases even online. To apply by telephone, call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778, Monday-Friday, 7am-7pm Eastern Time. The SSA representative at the 800-number can make an appointment to apply by telephone or can make an appointment to apply at your local Social Security office.


Find local Social Security offices at  Applications for SSDI can be submitted on Social Security's web site at