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Tips from Social Security to prepare for your disability interview

When a person becomes disabled, it can be a very stressful time in their life. There are many questions and unknowns when you have to transition out of the workforce due to medical issues. While an employer may offer short or long-term disability, most people faced with a disability will file for benefits with Social Security. If you're facing life with a disability and don't know where to start, we encourage you to visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi. You can apply for benefits on our website; it's the most convenient way.

When applying for benefits, you should be prepared to answer a number of questions including: • When your conditions became disabling: • Dates you last worked; • The names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of visits to your doctors; • The names of medications that you take and medical tests you've had; and • Marital information. In addition, if you plan on applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments, for people with low income who haven't paid enough in Social Security taxes to be covered, we will ask you questions about: • Your current living arrangement, including who lives there and household expenses; • All sources of income for you and your spouse, if applicable; and • The amount of your resources, including bank account balances, vehicles, and other investments. You can view our disability starter kit at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability/disability_starter_kits.htm. Remember, we are there when you might be faced with one of the hardest obstacles of your life. Social Security helps secure today and tomorrow with critical benefits for people with severe disabilities, not just during retirement. Learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Questions & Answers

Question: I'm applying for disability benefits. Do I automatically receive Medicare benefits if I'm approved for disability benefits?

Answer: You will receive Medicare after you receive disability benefits for 24 months. When you become eligible for disability benefits, we will automatically enroll you in Medicare. We start counting the 24 months from the month you were entitled to receive disability, not the month when you received your first payment. Special rules apply to people with permanent kidney failure and those with "Lou Gehrig's Disease" (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

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