Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

If a disability is expected to last at least 12 months or end in death, then the disabled individual should apply for Social Security disability benefits. There are two types of Social Security disability benefits: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI, also known as Title II benefits) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI, also known as Title XVI benefits). To learn the eligibility requirements of each program, read O’Ryan Law Firm’s article about Eligibility for SSDI and SSI benefits.

The process of applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may seem complex, but this article will explain what information is needed to apply and how to apply.

Information Needed to Apply

Before applying for Social Security disability benefits, the following materials should be gathered:

-Your Social Security number;

-An original or certified copy of your birth certificate and, if you were born in another country, proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency;

-If you were in the military service, the original or certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty;

-Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE);

-Direct deposit numbers (from a check, or ask your financial institution for the numbers) to have your monthly benefits deposited automatically;

-Information about any workers’ compensation claim you have filed, including date of injury, claim number, and proof of any payments made to you;

-The name, address, and phone number of someone who knows about your condition and can help with your claim;

-Information about your illnesses, injuries, and conditions, including dates of treatment, and patient ID numbers; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you. It is best to provide all treatment information beginning 12 months prior to your disability onset;

-Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who requested the tests;

-Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them. You may also want to include side effects from medications;

-Medical records that you already have in your possession; and
-A list of up to five jobs and dates you worked during the last 15 years prior to your disability onset.

How to Apply

Once you have gathered the above information, you are ready to apply for Social Security disability benefits. There are three ways to apply:

1) Applying at your local Social Security office. You may use the following Social Security office locator to find your nearest office: https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp (last accessed January 15, 2015).

2) Calling the Social Security Administration’s national toll-free number and applying: 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). This service is available between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. If representatives are not able to help you apply at the time you call, a phone appointment may be scheduled to file your application.

3) Applying online at the following web address: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/disabilityssi/ (last accessed January 15, 2015). You can take multiple sessions to complete the online application, although you must save your confirmation number to re-access your saved application.

Contact O’Ryan Law Firm

If you believe you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits, contact O’Ryan Law Firm for a free consultation. We may be able to assist you with your Social Security disability application. If your claim has already been denied, we may be able to assist you with the appeal process and represent you at your hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. For more on the Social Security disability appeal process, read Appealing the Denial of Social Security Disability Claims and Social Security Disability Claims at the Appeals Council and District Court Levels.