Your Guide to Getting Arizona Disability Benefits

Your Guide to Getting Arizona Disability Benefits

Important: We updated this article in January 2024 to include the latest Social Security Administration data and policies. Do you live and work in the great state of Arizona? Have you recently become unable to work due to illness or injury? You may be wondering if Arizona disability benefits are available to you. Below, we’ll explain the two Social Security programs that pay Arizona residents long-term disability benefits.

Long-Term Disability Benefits Are Available to Disabled Adults and Children in Arizona

Arizona disability payments are similar to those of many other states. Individuals unable to work for health reasons may apply for two federal disability programs. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) handles both. It is smart to learn as much as you can about how they both work before applying. Finally, consider working with an Arizona disability lawyer so your claim’s more likely to succeed.

TIP: Make sure to gather copies of your full medical records from your doctor to submit with your disability benefits application. You need medical evidence that proves your condition prevents you from working for at least one year to qualify for Arizona disability payments.

First, know that there are no such thing as Arizona short-term disability benefits paid for by the state. You may want to ask your employer if your employee benefits package offers any Arizona short-term disability benefits.

Second, know that the only benefit available for a disabled child in AZ is Supplemental Security Income. The other federal program, Social Security Disability Insurance, will only pay benefits to disabled adults with enough recent work history.

Next, visit the disability services page found at There are some programs there your family might find helpful. For example, the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) helps residents with disabilities overcome barriers to employment and achieve economic security.

Finally, federal disability law also provides discounted medical insurance for people who qualify for SSDI or SSI:

  • Medicare coverage starts 24 months after your SSDI benefits begin.
  • Medicaid coverage begins during the same month as your first SSI payment.

Pro Tip: If your disabling injury or illness is work-related, apply for Arizona workers’ compensation instead.

Long-Term Disability Benefits Available for Disabled Adults and Children in Arizona

Which Federal Programs Pay Arizona Disability Benefits?

The SSA manages payments and screens applicants for two federal programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

TIP: You can use the same initial application to file for Arizona disability benefits through both SSI and SSDI. Check one box on your claim form, and Arizona’s Disability Determination Services office screens you for both SSDI and SSI payments.

Arizona Disability Benefits Program #1: Social Security Disability Insurance, Otherwise Known as SSDI or SSD Benefits

How Much Money Can I Collect Each Month In SSDI?

The maximum monthly SSDI benefits amount in 2024 is $3,822. The average monthly SSDI payment for disabled workers nationwide is $1,537. The SSA figures out your specific benefit amount using your highest average wage earnings over a 35-year period.

SSDI Eligibility Requirements

  1. Arizona’s DDS department only awards SSDI if your doctor believes your medical condition prevents you from working for at least one year. If your condition improves enough for you to work again in less than 12 months, you cannot qualify.
  2. The SSA defines disability differently than your doctor probably does. You must provide recent supporting medical documentation to prove you can’t work full-time for at least 12 months.
  3. You may qualify for SSDI payments only if you worked five in the last 10 years full-time while paying Social Security taxes. Some people in Arizona who don’t get SSDI are service-industry workers, union members and federal or state employees.
  4. If you stopped working more than five years ago, you won’t qualify for SSDI. Your coverage for this program lapses if you stop paying premiums for 60 continuous months.
  5. You must be aged 18-66 when you file your SSDI disability application. If you already get some regular Social Security or early retirement payments, you cannot qualify for SSDI.

The SSA takes about 3-5 months to review every disability claim. There is also a required five-month waiting period before you can get your first payment. The SSA approves 1 in 5 — or 20% — of first-time disability claims. The SSA only awards SSDI to 30% of applicants over time. That includes the 10% who appeal and win at reconsideration, an administrative law judge hearing, or in federal court.

TIP: The SSA re-checks your disability status every 3-7 years until you turn 67 years old. Then, SSDI benefits automatically switch over to Social Security retirement.

Arizona SSDI Eligibility Requirements

Arizona Disability Benefits Program #2: SSI, or Supplemental Security Income

How Much Will SSI Benefits Pay Out to Individuals?

SSI is the second benefit program the SSA runs. It also has the strictest eligibility requirements. If you didn’t work five of the last 10 years or are over the age of 65 with few assets and little or no income, apply for SSI. You may also apply for SSI on a child’s behalf since there are no employment requirements, unlike SSDI.

People qualify for up to a max of $943 per person, or $1,415 per couple in monthly SSDI after claim approval.

SSI Eligibility Requirements

SSI medical eligibility requirements are the same as those for SSDI. That said, you must have very low income — and almost no assets or financial resources — to receive benefits:

  1. Your total household income cannot be more than $1,550 per month.
  2. You must own less than $2,000 in financial assets ($3,000 for couples). There are some exceptions to that rule. For example, the SSA won’t count your house, the land it sits on, one vehicle, your wedding ring, and some household goods.

How to Apply for Arizona Disability Benefits (Either SSI or SSDI)

You have 4 different ways to file your disability application:

  1. Apply online through You can start your online application anytime and save your progress as you complete each section.
  2. Call 1-800-772-1213 to request help from the SSA applying for benefits over the phone.
  3. In person at your nearest Social Security Administration office. We recommend calling first to make an appointment, and plan to spend at least 4-5 hours there.
  4. For free through an experienced Arizona disability attorney. These attorneys always work on contingency, so you owe $0 if the Arizona DDS office rejects your claim. This also is the only option that triples your chances of approval within 6 months after you file.
How to Apply for Arizona Disability Benefits

No matter which option you choose, you’ll also need the following items when you’re ready to apply:

  • Your Social Security number and two forms of photo ID. If you’re an H1B visa worker, bring those documents also.
  • Contact information, including a phone number where they can reach you Monday through Friday during regular office hours.
  • Banking and income information.
  • Work history information.
  • Marriage, divorce, and military service records from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (if they apply to you).
  • Birth certificates for any children still living at home younger than 16 years old.
  • Contact info for your doctor’s office, along with any medications you take, dosage, and frequency.

Finally, make sure your claim paperwork includes recent medical records and be sure to list every health problem you have. Nearly 2 in every 3 people with successful claims listed multiple conditions on their benefit applications.

How to Triple Your Approval Odds Within 6 Months for Free

Applying for Arizona disability benefits can feel difficult at a time when you’ve suffered a setback with your health. If you need help, talk to an experienced Social Security attorney for free over the phone. 

Having an Arizona disability lawyer file your application makes the process much easier. All disability lawyers work on contingency, so you pay $0 for claim help now. Already denied once? An Arizona disability lawyer can fix any paperwork mistakes before you appeal. Attorneys can also help you avoid court by scheduling a video appeal hearing remotely.

Want free expert claim help over the phone? Click the button below now to start your free online quiz and see if you may qualify:

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation

Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at and