How To Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits
On the surface, applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a simple process. You’ll be required to complete an application form and provide certain supporting materials from a checklist provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You can even apply by telephone, and some adults can apply for disability benefits online.
How to Apply for Social Security Disability
Whether you’re applying for benefits online or submitting an application through the mail, your process will begin at ssa.gov/disabilityssi. There, you’ll find basic information about applying and links to the application and documentation checklist.
You may generally complete your application online if:
- You’re 18 years of age or older;
- You’re not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record;
- You’re unable to work due to a medical condition and the disability has lasted or is expected to last for more than a year; and
- You have not been denied benefits within the past 60 days.
You’ll be asked to submit information about several areas of your life and history, including:
- Marital status and family information
- Work history and/or self-employment information
- Information about your medical condition
- Contact information for your physicians
- Medication information;
- Banking information; and
- Educational history.
While much of this information is straightforward and clear, it’s important that these forms are completed carefully and correctly, and that you provide all relevant information. Failure to provide thorough information may delay your claim, or even result in denial.
Once you’ve submitted your application and documentation, the SSA will either process your application and advise you of its decision by mail, or will contact you to request further information.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?
The short answer is “no” – you’re not required to retain an attorney to assist you with your application for Social Security Disability. However, there are some good reasons you may want to consider working with an attorney from the beginning:
- An experienced Social Security Disability attorney will know exactly how to assemble your application and documentation to ensure that the process isn’t held up by technical errors or omissions.
- Most initial applications for Social Security Disability benefits are denied, requiring the claimant to appeal before actually receiving benefits. An attorney who has worked with you from the initial application will be in the best position to assist you as the process becomes increasingly complicated.
- If you’re adapting to a new or worsening medical condition that has rendered you unable to work, you don’t need the added stress of managing the details of the application and appeals process. When you leave that in the hands of an experienced professional, you can focus on taking care of yourself and your family.
Perhaps the best reason to consider working with an experienced Social Security Disability attorney is this: statistics show that claimants who have legal representation at Social Security Disability appeals hearings are significantly more likely to be approved. Why not give yourself the best possible chance?