October 19, 2021

How To Apply For Social Security Disability

Should you become unable to work to due to an injury or illness, you may be eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits. In order to do so, you must meet certain criteria and be approved through the Federal Government’s application process.

Do you qualify for Social Security disability benefits?

According to the Federal Government, in order to meet Social Security disability requirements, one must:

  • Be unable to perform the work that they did prior to their medical disability;
  • Be unable to adapt to other working conditions due to their medical disability; and
  • Have suffered from their medical disability at least one year or have a medical condition(s) that will result in death.

If you are unsure about whether or not you qualify to receive benefits, you may wish to access BEST, the Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool. This service, offered by the Social Security Administration, will help you better determine if you are entitled to receive Social Security benefits.  Please visit BEST at: http://www.benefits.gov/ssa/

How do you begin the Social Security disability benefits application process?

Once you have established that you do qualify for Social Security disability benefits, it is best to begin the application process as soon as possible as the process to file a single claim can take several months. Additionally, should your initial claim not be approved, you may choose to enter into the appeals process.

There are two options when applying for Social Security benefits. The first is to apply online and the second is to apply in person at your local Social Security office. While you may prefer to apply in person, we recommend applying online for the following reasons:

  • There is no need to wait for an appointment;
  • You can submit your application from the comfort of your own home; and
  • You will save time and money by avoiding trips to the Social Security office.

This online option is available to you if:

  • You are 18 or older;
  • You have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify*;
  • You have met the above criteria for being a disabled persons; and
  • You are a resident of the United States or one of its territories/commonwealths.

* If you are a younger worker applying for Social Security disability benefits, you may be unsure if you have worked and paid Social Security taxes long enough to qualify. For more information on how younger workers may qualify with fewer credits, click here:

http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/credits3.htm

How do you apply online for Social Security disability benefits?

The online application process is broken down into four main steps:

Step 1. Review the Adult Disability Checklist. This will explain to you in detail what you will need before starting the online process. The checklist can be found at: http://www.ssa.gov/hlp/radr/10/ovw001-checklist.htm

Step 2. Fill out the online Disability Benefit Application. This provides information regarding your eligibility for benefits. This form is located at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/iClaim/dib

Step 3. Fill out the online Adult Disability Report. This will provide the Social Security Administration with your medical and work history. This form is located at: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/radr/radr-fe

Step 4. Fill out, sign and mail or take the Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration to your local Social Security office. This document may be found at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-827.pdf

To search online for an office near you, please visit: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp

How do you apply for Social Security disability benefits in person?

If you do not wish to apply online, you can make an appointment to apply in person at your local Social Security office. The following toll-free number is accessible from 7a.m. to 7p.m., Monday through Friday and will assist you in making an appointment: 1-800-772-1213

Should you be deaf or hard of hearing, you can schedule an appointment by calling TTY 1-800-325-0778; or by visiting your local Social Security office.

To search online for an office near you, please visit: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/FOLO/fo001.jsp

How can you appeal a claim that was denied?

It is often the case that your initial claim for Social Security disability benefits will be rejected. Despite this initial rejection, you do have the option to appeal the decision. If your application has been denied, you will find directions on how to file an Internet Appeal at the following location: https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/iAppeals/ap001.jsp

If you applied for Social Security disability benefits in person or do not wish to file an appeal online, visit https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/iAppeals/msg046.jsp for information and instructions.

Questions about getting Social Security disability benefits?

Should you have questions regarding the application or appeals process, you may call 1-800-772-1213 toll-free. Should you be deaf or hard of hearing, you may call TTY 1-800-325-0778. These lines are available from 7a.m. to 7p.m., Monday through Friday.

For more information, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/

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