How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?

by May 31, 2017

Home » FAQs » How Do I Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?

There are several ways to apply for disability benefits: online, in-person, or via phone. The application is not a simple, one-page form. There are numerous documents, forms, and records you will need to submit when applying. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the requirements and get your information in order before beginning the application process.

Because it is often lengthy and confusing, the application processes for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can seem daunting. Our disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group can help. For assistance with the application or appeals process, call our office at 865-566-0800 and request a free consultation.

How can I apply for disability benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers three ways to apply for disability benefits:

  1. By phone at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  1. If you prefer to file in person, you can visit your local Social Security office to complete the application.
  1. If you meet certain criteria, you can apply for benefits online through the SSA. Those criteria will vary depending on whether you are applying for SSDI or SSI.

SSDI: To qualify to file online for SSDI, you must be age 18 or older, not currently receiving Social Security benefits, and be unable to work because of a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death. If you have received a denial for disability benefits in the last 60 days, you will not be able to apply online.

SSI: The SSA will only allow you to apply for SSI online if you are age 18 to 65, never married, are not blind, have never applied for SSI before, and want to apply for SSDI and SSI concurrently.

If you are unsure how to apply, contact us today. Our attorneys can assist you with the application process to help you get the benefits you need to support yourself and your family.

What documents and information do I need for my application?

The SSA needs to gather information about you and your condition for the application process. Some of the items you will need include:

  • Your spouse’s name, date of birth, and Social Security Number;
  • Names and dates of birth of any minor children you have;
  • Your bank account information;
  • Detailed information about your medical conditions, doctors, and treatments;
  • Information about your work last year and this year including the jobs you have had, income you have made, and W-2s;
  • Proof of birth and proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status;
  • S. military discharge papers, if applicable;
  • Proof of workers’ compensation, if applicable; and
  • A medical release form.

The list of things you will need to complete the application is extensive. Our disability attorneys can help you collect the information you need to apply for benefits.

What does the disability application process entail?

After you have submitted your application and the supplemental forms and information, the SSA will review your claim. First, they will check to make sure you meet basic non-medical criteria, such as citizenship, work history or financial requirements, and that you are not currently working.

To qualify for SSDI, you will need to have earned enough work credits at an eligible job that pays into the Social Security System. To qualify for SSI, your income and personal assets need to fall below a certain level.

Then, the SSA will transfer your case to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) agency in your state. The claims examiner and in-house doctor at the DDS office will compile and assess your medical evidence, speak to your doctors, and decide whether you are disabled.

After their review is complete, the DDS office will then return your case to the SSA office, along with a report of their findings and the determination. Finally, the SSA will notify you via mail of their decision.

How can a disability attorney help with my disability application?

The disability application process can be overwhelming, particularly when you do not know what to expect and when you are dealing with your health and medical treatments. The fact that the SSA denies most of the applications for disability benefits it receives each year does not help.

While no lawyer can promise you approval, a legal advocate working on your behalf and helping you pursue your much-needed benefits can lift some of the burden on your shoulders.

Our disability attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group have helped thousands of people with their disability claims. We understand the ins and outs of the application process, how to keep the claims process running smoothly, and how to build ample evidence to support your claim. Below are just some of the ways we can help with a disability claim:

  • Request and develop your medical records;
  • Help you fill out the initial application and forms;
  • Ask family members or caregivers to write letters confirming your disability;
  • Keep you informed about the status of your claim;
  • Appeal your case if you receive a denial;
  • Speak to the Attorney Adjudicator directly about your case;
  • Represent you at hearings; and
  • Answer any questions you may have along the way.

Can I afford a lawyer to help with my disability application?

The Disability Advantage Group have a contingency payment policy. This means that we do not charge you for legal services unless you win your benefits. We only get paid a percentage of any past-due benefits you receive. Because you will not have to pay anything out-of-pocket for an attorney and because an attorney can bring so many benefits to your case, it makes sense to have a lawyer assist you with your application.

Call our office today at 865-566-0800 for a free case evaluation. We can speak with you over the phone to gather basic information about your case, predetermine eligibility, and explain the next step to filing for benefits.