Social Security Disability Applications
Being unable to work due to a medical disability can be frightening. You’re already dealing with your symptoms and medical limitations, and the last thing you need is to worry about how you’re going to keep a roof over your head or food on the table. That’s why the U.S. government provides Social Security disability benefits.
Who is Eligible for Social Security Disability?
Eligibility for Social Security disability benefits depends on:
- Eligible work history: to qualify for Social Security disability, a person must have worked enough quarters throughout his working life, and also a certain number of quarters in the preceding three, five or 10-year period. The specific requirements vary depending on the age of the applicant.
- Determination of disability: Social Security offers only long-term disability benefits, so the applicant must show that his or her ability to perform basic work responsibilities is significantly limited. And, that limitation must be expected to last for at least 12 months or end in death.
Applying for Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration (SSA) may take three to five months to process your disability application, so it’s in your best interest to start the process as soon as possible. You can begin the process by applying online at www.socialsecurity.gov.
You will also be required to complete forms authorizing your doctors and other health care professionals to share information with SSA to help them understand your medical condition and determine whether you are eligible for benefits.
The process is time-consuming in part because SSA has to wait for responses from your medical providers before assessing your case. However, you can speed things up a bit and improve your changes of approval at the initial application stage by providing as much information as possible, including:
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth certificate
- A list of medications and dosages
- Contact information for all of your medical providers
- Any medical records or lab test results you already have
- A copy of your most recent W-2 (tax return if self-employed)
- A brief description of your past work
How this information is presented can significantly impact your chances of success, so it is to your benefit to have an experienced Social Security disability advocate assist you in preparing your application. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help.
After You File Your Social Security Disability Application
SSA reviews your disability application to make sure you meet basic eligibility requirements, including adequate work history. If you do, then your application will be forwarded to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) office in your state for further review.
The DDS will obtain information from your health care providers, review your case and make the initial determination. If the DDS approves your application, you will receive a letter with the amount of your monthly benefits, any retroactive payment you may be entitled to, and the date you can expect to begin receiving benefits.
If you’ve applied on your own and your application was denied at this stage, don’t worry—most are. Contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney to discuss the next steps toward securing your benefits.