There are several types of disability benefits available today for Arizona residents who can't work due to a physical or mental condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two types of disability benefits, and for work-related injuries or illnesses, Arizona's worker’s compensation program provides long-term disability benefits for those with lasting disabilities. Unlike some other states, Arizona does not offer short-term disability benefits to its residents, and the state no longer offers an extra state payment to SSI recipients.
Social Security Disability Benefits
Social Security runs two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Medical eligibility for SSDI and SSI is the same. To be considered disabled, you must be unable to do a substantial amount of work, or what Social Security calls "substantial gainful activity" (SGA). The ability to earn $1,040 per month or more is considered being able to do SGA.
However, SSDI is available only to those who have worked a numbers of years while paying Social Security taxes. And SSI is available only to those with low income and assets.
Arizona's Role in Awarding SSDI and SSI
After Social Security reviews your disability application for financial eligibility for SSDI or SSI, the agency sends it to Arizona's Disability Determination Services (DDS), a state agency run by the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES). DDS decides whether you are medically eligible for SSDI or SSI.
There are two DDS locations in Arizona:
4000 North Central Ave., Ste. 1800
Phoenix, AZ 85012
5441 East 22nd Street, Ste. 135
Tucson, AZ 85711
If DDS finds that you are disabled and approves you for SSI, you are automatically approved for Medicaid as well.
Arizona Workers' Compensation
Employers in Arizona are required to provide worker’s compensation insurance for their employees. Benefits for lost wages are available to any employee who is injured at work or becomes ill because of a workplace condition. Workers who are permanently disabled due to a work-related accident or illness may be entitled to long-term worker’s comp benefits. Note, though, that any permanent disability settlement you receive from workers' comp may lessen the amount of your SSDI or SSI payments.
Disability Advocacy Resources in Arizona
Assistance and advocacy for Arizonans with disabilities are available through:
Arizona Center for Disability Law
100 North Stone Avenue, Suite 305
Tucson, AZ 85701
800-922-1447 Voice/TTY (Toll Free)
While the Center for Disability Law will not represent you in getting disability benefits from Social Security, you can use our lawyer directory to arrange a consultation with a disability lawyer in Arizona.