In order to qualify for social security disability benefits, you must have a sufficient work history, and a current disability that prevents you from working and has lasted or will last at least one full year.
The Social Security Administration uses a five step process to determine if you qualify for benefits:
Someone who has become disabled but does not have the work history to qualify for Social Security Disability may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To qualify, you must be disabled and have little or no income or assets.
You can apply for social security benefits online, over the phone, or by visiting your nearest Social Security Administration office. Most people apply without the assistance of a social security lawyer. If you are denied social security disability, you can file a request for reconsideration. If you are denied again, you can request a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. The hearing level is when many people decide that it's time to hire an attorney.