Claims: Legal Definition

In the context of Social Security or veterans disability law, a claim is another word for an application for disability benefits. If a person believes they are eligible for Social Security or veterans disability, they file a claim — another way of saying they submit an application — with the appropriate agency, usually accompanied by supporting documentation verifying the information in the claim is correct.

How to File a Social Security Disability Claim

A Social Security disability claim typically consists of Form SSA-16-BK, which is the official application for disability insurance benefits. This form must be submitted alongside supporting documentation that may include medical records, doctors’ statements, income and tax documents, and other paperwork. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers several ways to file a disability claim. You may file it online, over the phone, or in person.

Filing a Claim Online

The easiest for most people is to visit There you can register as a disability applicant, fill out Form SSA-16-BK, and submit it online. The website application will walk you through filling out the form and will guide you on how to submit your medical records and other supporting documentation. A Social Security disability lawyer can also help with this process if needed.

Filing Over the Phone

If you prefer to file over the phone rather than online, you can do so by calling toll-free at 1-800-772-1213. A representative will make an appointment for you to apply over the phone and can answer any questions you have about the process. Your attorney can help you gather the documents you need to submit a successful application.

Filing in Person

The third option is to file your claim for disability benefits in person, which you can do at your local Social Security office. To avoid long wait times, it is a good idea to make an appointment beforehand by calling the same number listed above.

When you apply in person at a Social Security office, an SSA representative can walk you through the process and make sure you have everything you need to submit a complete claim.

How to File a VA Disability Claim

VA provides similar options for filing a disability claim and also requires a similar list of paperwork to that needed for a Social Security disability claim. The key to a successful claim is proving a cause-and-effect link, also known as a “nexus,” between a specific event that occurred during your military service and your current diagnosis of a disabling medical condition.

A VA disability lawyer can help you build your claim and collect the supporting documentation you need to make it compelling.

Call 865-566-0800 for a Free Disability Case Evaluation With the Disability Advantage Group

An attorney from the Disability Advantage Group can help you put together a compelling claim for Social Security or VA disability. We want to help you collect the benefits you deserve. Call us today at 865-566-0800 for a free consultation and case evaluation.