How do I file an application for Social Security Disability benefits?

By / Social Security Disability Benefits / 18 Comments

Learn how to file an application for Social Security disability in person, online, or by phone for a worker, a widow, or a disabled adult child.

Filing an Application for Social Security Disability Online
Social Security provides several ways to file your application for Social Security Disability. If you age eighteen or older and not receiving disability benefits on your own earnings record, you can file an application online on the Social Security Administration website, If you have limited income and assets and are not blind and wish to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at the same time as you apply for SSDI, you can also file an SSI application online. For information about Social Security benefits for disabled dependents, visit our article How Can I Get Disability Beneifts from a Relative’s Earnings Record?

Filing Your Application in a Social Security Office or by Telephone
You can also call Social Security’s national toll-free number (800) 772-1213 to request an in-office or telephone appointment, or you can visit your local Social Security office. You can get the address of your closest office by entering your zip code on the office-finder page of Social Security’s website, Most offices operate on an appointment basis for claims, so it may be better to call for an appointment before traveling to an office.

Information Needed for Your Disability Application
Whether you file your own application or hire a Social Security attorney, you will need to gather information for your claim. This will include the date you believe that you became disabled, the last date you worked before becoming disabled, and the dates of any work after disability began. You will also need the names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals and clinics that have information about your medical condition, as well as the approximate dates you first and last saw the providers and the conditions for which you were seen. Social Security will also ask you for the dates of any medical or psychological tests you’ve been given and who ordered them. These include physical capacity or residual functional capacity evaluations. If you have the reports from any of these tests, they can be attached to your application. And, you’ll need a list of the medications you have taken since you became disabled and the names of the practitioners who prescribed them. Usually, your pharmacy will print out a prescription history for you.

In terms of non-medical information and documents, you will need your prior year W-2 forms or Schedules C and SE if you are self-employed, information about any other benefits you have applied for, and military service discharge information from your DD-214 for all periods of active duty. You will also be asked to provide information about your last five jobs, including your duties and the dates you worked at each job. All this information will help you or your attorney complete the disability forms correctly and completely. If you are missing some of the information, you can start your claim without it and give it to the Social Security Administration as soon as you get it.

If you apply online, you will be asked to mail or deliver supporting documents, including a signed authorization for the Social Security Administration to obtain the information needed to determine your eligibility.

Finishing Your Disability Application
If you start an application, either online or in an office, and you don’t have enough information or time to complete all the forms, you can complete the application another day. The day you first contact Social Security will be your filing date, even if you do not finish the application that day, as long as you complete the application within six months.

Whatever method you use to file your claim, it is important to keep a copy of your full application for Social Security Disability and all supporting documents, just in case yours is one of the very few claims Social Security misplaces.

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