Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

If you have become disabled and unable to work you may qualify to receive Social Security Disability payments. The process to determine if you are disabled is more complicated than your doctor writing a note. The Social Security Administration Office has outlined very specific disabilities and requirements which must be met in order to receive Social Security Disability payments.

Social Security Disability Process

In order to be declared disabled an individual must have a disability so severe that they will not be able to work for a year or that will result in death. Unfortunately, short-term disabilities will not allow a person to qualify for the SSI or SSDI payouts.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) an individual must begin by applying for Social Security Disability by filling out an application and sending it to the Social Security Administration to be processed.

After a lengthy review process, if your application has been approved you will receive a notice regarding your eligibility in writing. This notice will include the payment amount and the date the payment will begin.

The amount you receive for your payout will depend on the category you fit in (blind, disabled, or 65 older), the amount of income you have, and your current living environment. Usually the amount you will receive will be the maximum payout amount after your allowable monthly income has been subtracted out.

Filing for Social Security Disability Benefits:

Step One:

Contact the nearest Social Security Office and ask to set up an appointment to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. Appointments can be done in person or over the phone. The Social Security Administration Office number is 1-800-772-1213.

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits an individual must fill out an application and send it to the Social Security Administration to be processed. There are standard documents which the Social Security Administration will need to process your disability benefits claim:

  • Copies of all work history information for the past 15 years
  • Copies of your most recent W-2 forms
  • All medical information including doctor, hospital, and clinics names, phone numbers and addresses
  • Social Security Number for the person applying for Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Valid birth certificate
  • Information regarding medications taken and laboratory tests
  • All information regarding marriages and dependants
  • Any other information about other public benefits that an individual is receiving

If necessary a social security representative will help you complete your application over the telephone. The representative will collect demographic information, your medical history, and the last day you worked. It is important to maintain a log of all calls made and to whom you have spoken.

In order to expedite the application process your medical information should be as thorough as possible. This includes specific information about your physical limitations from your personal physician and any information about your medical condition which may limit your ability to work.

Step Two:

Once your Social security disability application is received by the Social Security Administration a department called the Disability Determination Office will evaluate the severity and type of medical condition you have. The most common way the DDO will evaluate your condition is compare it to a list of conditions they have defined as disabling. If your condition is on this list you will not automatically be qualified as disabled. In addition, if your condition is not listed this does not automatically disqualify you. It might however, necessitate further medical review. In order to determine your medical health you may be asked to provide:

  • blood work
  • MRIS
  • XRAYS
  • records of doctor visits
  • medications
  • history of conditions
  • additional relevant medical information

The Disability Determination Service (DDS) will also evaluate your overall ability to be employed. They will determine if you are unable to perform your current job, and if not can you be trained for other employment. If the Disability Determination Service feels you can be gainfully employed in another job regardless of whether or not you want to do other work or if you actually obtained other employment then they may declare you not disabled.

Step Three:

The third step in the Social Security Disability application process is to review your resources and income. In order to qualify for the disability you must have limited resources. The Social Security Disability program considers resources to be

  • cash
  • land
  • life insurance
  • personal property
  • bank accounts
  • vehicles
  • other things that can be sold for cash

There are several items that may not count for resources, these items may include

  • the home you live in
  • vehicle up to $4500
  • Other certain personal effects
  • life insurance policies worth less than $1500

An individual's income must also be below the allowable limit, income generally includes

  • earnings from employment
  • social security benefits
  • state disability payments
  • unemployment benefits
  • pension income
  • other retirement income

Once the process is finished and your application has been approved you will receive a notice regarding your eligibility in writing. This notice will include the payment amount and the date the payment will begin.

Unfortunately, many cases are initially denied. If your request for Social Security Disability Benefits is denied, by law you have the right to appeal. At this point in the process it is a good idea to contact a Social Security Disability Attorney who will help gather information about the laws, regulations and policies which were used to decide your claim. A competent Disability Lawyer will help review your disability claim and navigate the appeals process. Fill out the evaluation to the right for help.


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