Apply For Social Security Disability
Submit a Disability Application Today
The application process for Social Security Disability is extensive and can sometimes be frustrating to properly complete. An initial disability application can be submitted to the SSA three different ways, over the telephone, on the internet (for SSDI only), or in person at a local Social Security Administration office.
An application for disability requires a certain amount of information about the applicant be submitted to ensure disability benefits are justified. A few of the main categories the applicant will be required to answer include questions pertaining to the application specific disabilities, medical history, work history and detailed activities of daily life.
Unfortunately, the majority of initial applications are denied due to varies reasons. These reasons ranged from the applicant not meeting the technical requirements to simply making a mistake in the application. If you would like to know whether or not you qualify before applying or would like assistance with your application, please feel free to fill out the form to the right and one of our disability evaluation specialists will contact you as soon as possible.
How to File for Disability Benefits
1Determine If You Qualify For Disability
Before an individual applies for disability benefits, it is best to know what actually qualifies someone for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability as the any condition (physical or mental) that is expected to last at least 12 months, and hinders an individual’s ability to work for income and achieve substantial gainful activity (earning more than $1,130 a month). There are two different disability programs an applicant can qualify for, SSI or SSDI. Whether an applicant qualifies for SSI or SSDI depends on how much the applicant has worked in the last 10 years (varies depending on applicant’s age). To find you if you qualify, visit our Qualifications page or call us at (888) 504-0035 to speak with a disability advocate.
2Gather All Medical Evidence & Documentation
An applicant must gather the proper documentation before he or she applies for disability benefits. The SSA reviews all provided medical documentation as evidence to verify that the applicant’s disabling condition creates serious functional limitations and prevents them from achieving SGA. The SSA needs other non-medical documentation to confirm an applicants eligibility for either of the disability programs.
Other non-medical documentation that is required by the SSA to apply:
- Social Security card
- Birth Certificate
- Drivers license or identification card
- Work history documents such as pay stubs
- Housing documents such as a lease agreement
- Personal financial documents such as bank account balances
- Green Card if not a US citizen
If an applicant’s application is lacking or missing any important medical evidence or documentation, his or her application will be delayed if not denied. An applicant should inform their doctors and medical specialists that they intend to apply for disability and should collect all relevant evidence regarding their condition to submit with their application. To learn more about the specifications on documentation, see our article on Medical Documentation.
3Complete An Initial Application For Disability
Once an applicant has determined their disability potentially qualifies for benefits and has gathered all of the proper documentation, he or she can submit an application for benefits with the SSA. An initial application can be turned in over the phone, online at ssa.gov (for SSDI only), or in person at a local SSA field office. The initial application is quite complex containing more than 30 pages of detailed information for an applicant to fill out. As a result, many applicants who apply on their own get denied due to a technical error or mistake in the application. To increase one’s chances for approval, an applicant should seek out a qualified disability advocate for assistance before applying. For more information, view our Initial Application page.
If Denied, Start The Appeal Process
Approximately 75% of initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied. The chances of becoming denied depends on several factors such as the state you are applying in, the condition you are applying for, and how well your condition is documented. Here are some common reasons for denial to keep in mind before applying.
You will be denied if you:
- Haven’t seen a physician in the last 6 months or don’t have updated medical records
- Are earning more than $1,130 per month (also known as Substantial Gainful Activity)
- Apply for a condition that won’t last longer than 12 months
If you applied for disability benefits and become denied, you have 60 days from that point to file a request for reconsideration with the SSA if you believe you were wrongfully denied. This is the first part of the appeals process where your application will be re-evaluated by a different medical examiner than before. You have a much better chance for approval if you appeal your claim rather than start a new application all over again. This is because statistics show that applicants have higher chance of approval at a court hearing than at the initial stage. Visit our page, the Appeals Process to learn more about the SSA’s appeals process.
Advantages of a Disability Advocate when applying for disability
In the beginning of this page it was stated that the disability application can be extensive and frustrating. This is true and is proven by the SSA’s statistics showing over 70% of first time applicants are denied disability benefits.
An invaluable method to increase your chances of approval is to find assistance through a disability advocate or attorney. Disability advocates are well educated in the field of Social Security are here to help disabled Americans file claims by gathering all necessary information and documentation and ensuring the applicant receives the most benefits possible. It is possible for a disability advocate to lower the amount of time it takes to receive a decision from the SSA by 4 to 10 months and, he or she can ensure you receive the max amount of benefits attainable for your condition.
Legal assistance is not necessary by any means but can significantly increase an applicant’s chances of approval at the initial stage. Several disability advocate organizations such as the Disability Care Center have initial approval rates over 80%.