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What is the SSA Redbook?

Many disability applicants enter the application process with very little knowledge about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Information is readily available for both of these programs, but finding it can be challenging.

There are two main resources that each applicant may find useful: the SSA Blue Book and the SSA Redbook. The SSA Blue book is a listing of conditions and their corresponding conditions that the SSA considers automatically disabling. This list is also referred to as the SSA Listing of Impairments (there is a part A for adults and a B children). The SSA Redbook is a second resource, and it contains information about the Social Security Administration’s disability related policies.

What is in the Redbook?


The main purpose of the SSA Redbook is to provide information to disabled beneficiaries who want to reenter the workforce. The SSA has developed several policies and services to help these workers. These provisions are called “work incentives” and are described in the SSA Redbook.

Although the SSA Redbook is written in an easy-to-read format, the SSA generated this manual primarily for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve persons with disabilities.

The Redbook as a Resource Guide


Although the SSA states the SSA Redbook is not really for applicants, it is a great resource guide. It contains work incentive information, but it also contains general information about disability related policies including:

  1. Information about how the Social Security Administration defines disability.

  2. Overview of the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income disability programs.

  3. How to contact the SSA

  4. SSI and SSDI employment support services information

  5. Information for the blind

  6. Examples of concurrent benefits with employment supports


The SSA Redbook highlights the benefits of employment support provisions and information which can help disability recipients as they move from SSDI or SSI support back into the work force. This manual lists specific information you will need to protect your eligibility for cash payments and health insurance while you attempt to work.

Many SSI and SSDI applicants mistakenly think they have to hide their work attempts from the Social Security Administration, but often this leads to overpayment or terminated benefits. Disability recipients should contact the SSA if they want to attempt to work and find out what options they have to work and receive disability payments.

The SSA  Redbook can be downloaded or viewed online. It is updated periodically and is available in Spanish and English. The Redbook in conjunction with the Blue Book should give disability applicants a fairly comprehensive overview of the SSDI and the SSI programs.

Hiring a Disability Lawyer


Many applicants ask why they need to hire a disability lawyer to get money they paid into the system which they consider rightfully theirs. SSDI is not a guaranteed payment plan and should be viewed more like insurance (although that is not exactly what it is either).

Not all applicants will need legal assistance. In fact, there are a variety of conditions which should be approved immediately, assuming the applicant meets the nonmedical requirements of the SSDI program.
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