Tips for Filing Your Social Security Disability Application

By / January 29, 2017 / Applying for Social Security Disability & SSI Benefits / 23 Comments

Learn when and how to file a Social Security Disability application and find out where to you can get help with your Social Security Disability claim.

The Disability Advisor on Social Security Disability Applications
Welcome! You have arrived at the second of’s seven Social Security Disability topics.

The Disability Advisor website offers articles that provide at-your-finger-tips answers to the most frequently asked Social Security Disability questions. For example, you can browse the thirteen questions in this section for plain-language answers to the most frequently asked questions about Social Security Disability applications.

These articles address:

  • When to file a Social Security Disability application.
  • How to file a Social Security application.
  • The information you need to support your claim.
  • What to do if you have few medical records or your doctor doesn’t support your claim.
  • Improving the chances for approval of your Social Security Disability claim.
  • How Social Security lawyers can help you win your claim
  • How Social Security lawyers get paid.
  • How long you will wait for a decision on your Social Security Disability claim.
  • How to help your Social Security Disability claim while waiting for a decision.

Act Now to Get Help with Your Claim or Appeal
An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help you with your Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income claim or appeal with no advance out-of-pocket cost to you for legal fees. This means you pay attorney fees only if your claim is approved. Then, attorney fees are subject to the standard limit set by the Social Security Administration and are deducted from your Social Security Disability back pay. All convenient and risk free.

Tips for Filing Your Social Security Disability Application
2 (40%) 1 vote

  • Dear Ball,

    I do not have a certain answer for you; however, I don’t think it would be exempt. The best way to find out would be to file an application.


  • Dear Mark,

    The Social Security program does not provide for disability benefits for spouses. If your wife has a child of yours under age sixteen in her care, she can get young wife’s benefits if your earnings record is sufficient to provide dependent benefits. If you were to die before her, she could apply for disabled widows benefits at age fifty.

    Depending on the amount of your Social Security benefit and the amount of assets the two of your have, your wife might qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability, which is administered by the Social Security Administration. You can read about SSI by reading the SSI articles on this site. Just click on Social Security Disability/SSI, then click on SSI in the drop-down menu.


  • Dear Toni,

    The vast majority of people draw more benefits than they pay into the system. The money paid in is invested and creates more income and each generation of workers is paying for the generations before them who are drawing benefits. The monthly amount is based on how high earnings are.

    You can go to and set up a “My Social Security” account, which will give you access to claim information.


  • Dear Toni,

    Your cousin is receiving Childhood Disability Benefits (CDB), which are paid to unmarried, disabled adult children who became disabled before age twenty-two. Her father worked enough and paid enough Social Security taxes to insure not only himself but also his family for dependent and survivor benefits. The amount of her benefit is based on her father’s lifetime earnings. If she marries or recovers from her disability, benefits will stop.


  • Dear KCinSD,

    Yes, your friend’s SSI will be reduced by one-third, which is the maximum reduction for in-kind (non-cash) support and maintenance, even though the subsidy is $1,300 a month.


  • You are welcome, Donna.

  • Dear Donna,

    Activities of Daily Living questionnaires are not requested for all claims. If you cannot perform certain activities of daily living or have difficulty doing them, you can write up a simple statement describing the problems and submit it. I suggest that you talk with the receptionist and ask whether she could pull your office visits and type up those so they can be submitted for your claim.


  • Dear Sman1990,

    Your assessment is the same as what I have observed so far with this new status system.


  • Heather

    Hello, My daughter is 28 yrs old married with two young boys.
    She has MS that has caused her to have other problems as well.
    She was told she does not qualify for disability because she does not have enough work credits. She was diagnosed with MS in her early 20’s
    The medications have not helped and her condition continues to progress.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Heather,

      Your daughter may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability if her resources (assets) and income (or her and her spouse’s resources and income if she is married living with her spouse) are within the SSI limits.

      With regard to Social Security Disability, at age twenty-eight, your daughter needs fourteen quarters of coverage earned between ages twenty one and twenty-eight to be insured. If, on the other hand, she became disabled much earlier, she would need less work. For example, if she can prove that she became disabled at age twenty-four, she would need only six quarters of coverage. Stated another way, she could try filing a claim with an earlier alleged incurred date that is before the date she was last insured. (This possibility assumes that she has worked enough to have at least six quarters of coverage, which is the minimum needed.) Below, you will find a list of earnings needed to earn a quarter of coverage. Note that a maximum of four credits can be earned in a single year.

      2009 $1,090
      2010 $1,120
      2011 $1,120
      2012 $1,130
      2013 $1,160
      2014 $1,200
      2015 $1,220
      2016 $1,260


  • Cindy Canterberry

    I have survived Breast Cancer but have been left with chronic pain and disabilities. I worked for many years before treatment for hep C in 2001 in which i was not able to return and my employer had to have a ward clerk. I took a leave from work for back surgery and was not able to return due to the pain. Followed by breast cancer i have chronic pain and fatigue. Had 12 surgeries in the past 14 years. The last surgery was in August of 2014 and resulted in loss of income and medical bills that I cannot pay. Each operation is taking loner to heal. I need help and as a citizen, born and raised in the United States, worked until I no longer could and SS says I have not worked enough. My illness has took away my freedom and disrupted my marriage. If I was a man SS would have gave it to me immediately because of being head of household and don’t care what age. I have applied 5 times & been denied 5 times at which time I appealed and went before a judge. Once I was awarded disability payment for the inward in chemo and radiation.
    I worked in May 2014 until August 2015 for $500.00 a month. 9am until 4pm on Tue, Wed & Thursday.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Cindy,

      Gender is not considered in whether or not a person is eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Besides being disabled, you must have worked enough and paid into the Social Security insurance system enough to be eligible for benefits including in the last ten years before you became disabled (less time if you are under age thirty-one). If you family income is not too high, you can apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which is a public assistance program for disabled and aged individuals.

      If you have already applied for SSI and have been medically denied, I suggest that you discuss you claim with an experienced Social Security attorney to get an opinion on whether they think you have a case. When you hire a Social Security attorney, you do not have to pay any legal fees up front, and you will pay attorney fees only if you are approved for benefits. Social Security law sets the amount your attorney can charge and the Social Security Administration pays the attorney directly from the retroactive award before they send your back pay to you.


  • LaShawn Sparks

    Hello Kay,
    I just stumbled upon your site, however, I believe that it was by Divine intervention. I’m a widow now for 9 years. I’ve been having numerous health challenges that’s preventing me from working consistently. Currently, I’m working part-time and receiving Survivors Benefits. I think it’ll probably be best if I applied for SSD so I can work on my health. I’ve been taking too many days off and I can never follow up with any Dr. appointments because I don’t have health insurance, and can’t afford a health deductible of $1048.00 monthly provided through the State of Michigan. Even the Affordable Health Care Insurance is averaging $500-600.00 monthly to get the insurance needed for proper coverage for my aliments. I’m also scheduled to start online classes for my Master’s degree, if I qualified for SSD–1) WILL THERE BE A REDUCTION IN THE SURVIVORS BENEFITS IF I QUALIFY 2) IF I QUALIFY FOR SSD– WILL I BE ABLE TO RECEIVE BENEFITS AND GO TO SCHOOL?

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear LaShawn,

      If approved medically, you will be paid Social Security Disability (SSD) on your own earnings record. Check with Social Security for any changes in the law; but I think that if the survivor benefits are more that the SSD, you can supplement your SSD with the survivor benefits up to an amount equal to survivor benefits alone or, if you are drawing survivor benefits based on age, you can elect not to take them and leave them until you reach full retirement age, when the benefit would be higher because you did not take or stopped taking reduced benefits.


  • Hi Kay..I had asked a question a few months ago and you answered. I have another one now. After some arguing and ALOT of stress..I FINALLY talked to someone in my local social security office who knew what she was doing, and she got my disability all straightened out. Of course..I will be receiving back pay back to when they suspended my account because of a workers comp issue, and when I looked at my online account today, it showed me what I would be receiving as a one-time payment. I added it up and they took a pretty good junk out of it. My question is, when I finally settle my workers comp case..will I still end up paying some back, or do you only pay back for the months that you drew both work comp and disability together? This is all so confusing because I still don’t understand HOW workers comp can offset your disability, but I guess like everything else..its all politics. Thank you for your time.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Kathy,

      The concept behind the workers compensation offset is a basic principle that runs through both government disability programs and private disability insurance policies–an individual should not receive more in compensation for disability than was being earned while working, Full workers comp and full Social Security would often, if not nearly always, result in over compensation for lost work earnings.

      If you receive a workers compensation settlement, the settlement will be prorated over past and/or future months depending on the language or lack of specifics in the settlement. Often it is prorated beginning with the month after Temporary Total Disability (TTD) WC payments end, continuing until the proration runs out. So, yes, you are likely to be overpaid again, either for past month proration or for future months that elapse while you are waiting for Social Security to make its adjustments. Accordingly, I recommend that you not spend any WC settlement you get until you receive an SSD overpayment letter and know how much you will have to refund.


  • Amanda

    Hi I went to court on March 18 the judge asked the doctor if I was able to return to my previous job his answer was no then the doctor gave three other jobs I might be able to perform. The judge asked if with my other disabilities if I was able to perform these jobs the answer was no. My question is what do you think my chances of being approved are? Thank you!

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Amanda,

      If the judge believes that the evidence submitted supports the level of impairments that you are claiming, you claim may be approved.


  • Hi Kay, I have been in process for 3 years 1 month. I have filed internationally as i live in Mexico at my husbands family home due to economic reasons. I was hospitalized in july 2011 with hepatorenal syndrome, septic shock, pneumonia ,encephalopathy and ascites.
    upon discharge from hospital it was advised i go to extended care for strengthening and then onto a center to be evaluated for transplant(liver). My insurance lapsed because it was attatched to a contract I was on as a Travel Nurse.
    My prognosis was given as grim. i came back to mexico to die. Long story short I saw my hepatologist here and was still infected with a multi drug resistant UTI. after treatment from her and a very long time in bed recovering my labs began to improve.
    i applied for disabity based on cirrhosis,weight loss,nausea vomiting.
    I have been denied at 1st and at reconsideration, At recon. they agreed i was critically ill but said i could have resumed work with 12 months. during this time i have developed severe joint pain and swelling ,fog-like brain, memory impairment,and inbalance from which i have had 5 falls. I saw my doctor 2 times a year. Social security could not find a suitable doctor for cme so they let me use my own doctor. my doctor has recommended follow up with a rheumatologist and neurologist which i have not been able to afford.
    I take pain meds for 7-8/10 joint pain.
    i have an attorney group who asked me last week,week before hearing to drop a year off my onset date of illness. my hearing was this morning at 8am by teleohone. I received a call from my lawyer at 8am stating the ALJ decided he has to see me or will deny my case. I must therefore fly (at my expense) to closest videoconference center and he will squeeze my case is asap. my lawyer told me it is a credibity issue and lack of medical info. despite having my entire hospital record which i obtained and payed for and all my doctors notes and CME and a letter from her. Plus 2 personal letters from friends,one a R.N and the othe Certified Ocupational therapist.
    My questions are : can the judge legally do this? Am I not entitled to an expeditious hearing?( Also social security lost my case for 5 months) What do you suggest? without appearing at hearing I will be denied,this is a tremendous financial burden plus a physical burden.My lawyer is now treating me like she can’t be bothered.
    Thank you so much for the help you give to people.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Anne,

      Despite the burden, do attend the hearing. Tell the truth without exaggeration when asked question. In the meantime, ask your attorney how he wants you to handle the situation during the hearing if you think something important has been misse. Also for your own clarity, I suggest that you ask your attorney to explain how changing your disability onset date to a later date will help your claim.


  • Jayne

    Hi Kay, why are so many SSDI applications denied? Will SSDI accept your doctors’ assessment of your capabilities or are they like workers comp who finds their own independent evaluators to argue against you.

    • Kay Derochie

      Dear Jayne,

      Social Security gives a lot of weight to the information from your physicians; however, their claims examiners, who are trained in Social Security Disability law, make the decision.

      Some claims are denied because the claimants are not disabled as defined by Social Security law. Other claims are denied because the claimant’s medical or psychiatric condition(s) and/or work history is not thoroughly presented and/or not all medical records and other evidence are submitted. Some, of course, are errors in analysis, but likely a small percentage. Most claims that are approved on appeal are approved because more information is given; and, of course, when visible symptoms are present being seen by a judge can add additional support for a claim. Articles under the “Apply SSD” tab on this site describe the types of information to gather and submit for your claim.





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