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Disability Benefits Information

The Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD) does not administer disability benefits, nor do we approve individuals who are seeking benefits. However, MOD can help you identify resources.

Disability benefits are cash payments for people who can’t work because of a disability. You could receive disability benefits from a number of sources including the government, an insurance company, and/or an employer.

If you applied for disability benefits and have not heard anything, contact the source of the specific benefit you applied for. 

Disability benefits from the federal government

The Social Security Administration (SSA) pays disability benefits to adults of working age who “have a physical or mental condition that prevents them from working and is expected to last at least a year or result in death.” SSA uses a different definition to evaluate disabled children who may also be eligible for disability cash benefits if their household has low income.
The two most common SSA programs that offer benefits to those who qualify are:

  1. The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program – If you’ve paid Social Security taxes long enough to achieve enough work credits, SSDI may be available to you.
  2. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program – If you have limited income and assets, SSI may be available to you.


The Social Security Administration uses Disability Determination Services (DDS) at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission to determine initial and continued eligibility for Social Security disability benefits programs. As part of their evaluation, they may require you to attend a medical appointment. You may contact DDS at (800) 882-2040.

SSA Contact information:

Phone number:  800-772-1213


Available cash benefits from state government

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not have a disability benefits program that is comparable to SSA. However, if you qualify for SSI from the federal government, you may be able to receive supplementary benefits from the state. The state agency that administers the supplement is the Massachusetts State Supplement Program (SSP). Contact SSP at (877) 863-1128.

Other state resources:

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) offers emergency assistance to certain people who have very low income and assets.  While DTA does not provide disability benefits, people who are unable to work for a medical reason for at least 60 days may be eligible.  This is a potential source of income while a person is awaiting a decision on a SSA benefit claim.

  • DTA administers Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), a state and federally funded program that provides cash assistance to families with children and pregnant women in the last 120 days of pregnancy who have little or no assets or income.
  • DTA also runs the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.


DTA Contact information:

Phone number: 877-382-2363



Short term disability from a private provider:

  • Some employers offer short term disability insurance as a benefit to their employees.  If you are employed and are unable to work you should check with your human resources department to find out whether your employer offers this benefit and if you have previously enrolled in it.
  • Private disability insurance carriers often cover employees who cannot work because of pregnancy.  Some employers offer short term disability insurance as a benefit to employees and some people purchase this disability insurance coverage privately.  While there are laws that protect employees who are pregnant, there is no government-based short term disability benefit for people who cannot work because of pregnancy.


Other FAQs:

I’ve been asked to verify my income with a letter. How should I go about obtaining it?

First determine the entity who issues your benefits and contact them directly. In those instances in which you are receiving benefits from SSA as well through the state supplement program, you would have to contact each agency separately.

What if I work in Massachusetts, but I live in a state that offers short term disability?

Massachusetts does not have a short term disability insurance program into which workers pay. If you live in a state that does have a short term disability program but you work in Massachusetts you would probably not be eligible for the program in your state but you may be eligible for a program in your state that provides emergency cash benefits to people who have low income.


What other places could possibly offer benefits?

The Veterans Administration, private insurance carriers, and government pension systems also pay benefits to people with disabilities

Where am I supposed to go for a Benefits Hearing?

If you are scheduled to attend a hearing in Boston to appeal a decision about benefits you are trying to reach Social Security Administration Office of Hearing Operations

4th Floor, One Bowdoin Square
Boston, MA 02114

888- 870-7573

*If you believe that a different type of work would be more suitable to your disability related limitations or that working would be possible with appropriate supports, you may want to explore vocational rehabilitation at Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) or Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB).

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