How to Apply for Disability Benefits from the Social Security Administration

You’ve worked hard your whole life, but now you’re unable to find work due to a disability. The federal disability compensation programs exist to help people who are unable to sustain themselves and their families due to a catastrophic medical condition.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a government program for the elderly, blind, and disabled persons who have little or no income or resources. Adults who are unable to work due to a disability are eligible for SSDI. In many aspects, the application procedure for both programs is identical, but there are significant differences that will be discussed in the next section.

Applying over the Internet

If you’re at least 18 years old, haven’t had an application denial in the last 60 days, and are unable to work due to a medical condition that will last at least a year or result in death, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) online. The SSI application can be completed in part online, but the rest must be completed at the agency’s facility.

Filling out application in Person

You’ll have to meet with an SSA agent for an interview if you’re applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Because this form of help is based on your actual financial need, the representative will ask about your current financial situation, as well as any other sources of income you may have. Although an applicant for SSDI is not required to submit an application in person, doing so may shorten the time it takes to process a claim. To schedule an interview, call 1-800-772-1213 or go to your local Social Security Administration office.

To apply for Social Security Disability Insurance over the phone, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It is critical to understand that in order to get through, you may have to wait a long time.

What You’ll Need If You Want to Apply for Disability Benefits

Regardless of how you apply, the Social Security Administration will require specific documents before reaching a decision. They could include (but aren’t required to):

  • A birth certificate or other form of identification can be used to prove your identity.
  • To verify US citizenship or permanent residency,
  • You’ll need last year’s W-2 and/or self-employment tax filings.
  • Medical documentation might include reports from doctors, treatment records, and recent test results.
  • An Adult Disability Report includes a work history as well as medical issues such as illness or injury.

Use the SSA’s adult disability application checklist to double-check your materials.

Submit an Aid Request

Many people misunderstand how difficult it is to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits (SSI). The process is extensive and time-consuming, and an inaccuracy on the application form could result in denial.

Contact a Social Security Disability attorney for help filling out the application and disability report forms, as well as any potential appeals. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation form to speak with a lawyer who can assist you in putting together a strong benefits case.