How to File a Social Security Disability Application

How to File a Social Security Disability Application
  • More than eight million Americans receive SSDI benefits.
  • Workers must have a qualifying disability to receive payments.
  • Children and spouses of the beneficiary also qualify. 
  • It takes at least six months to receive a payment.

Everything You Need to Know to Quickly Sign Up For Social Security Disability

( – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are one of the most useful safety nets the US government offers working-class people. The program provides payment to over 8 million Americans and more than 1.5 million children and spouses. Hundreds of thousands of people apply for the program every year, but it’s extremely difficult to get approved the first time around. In fact, less than 40% of first-time applicants are actually awarded benefits. There’s good news for those who aren’t approved the first time around, but meet the requirements; they’re eligible for back-pay dated back to the first application.

Of course, nobody wants to fight with the Social Security Administration (SSA). That’s why it’s critical to fill out the application right the first time.

Applying for Benefits

There are a few different ways to apply for SSDI. The SSA allows people to apply online, over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or by visiting a local office.

Before applying, it’s important to make sure you meet the requirements for the benefits. In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a medical condition that meets the administration’s definition of a disability and have worked in jobs that paid into the insurance.

It’s important to apply for the benefits as soon as you become disabled, because there’s a five-month waiting period. That means your benefits will not begin before six months. The exception to that rule is if you suffer from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Necessary Documents

The list below are the documents you will need to qualify for SSDI:

  • extensive medical records and doctor’s reports documenting your disability
  • proof of citizenship or legal immigration status
  • birth certificate
  • US military discharge paperwork if you served before 1968
  • W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax paperwork from the previous year
  • settlement agreements, pay stubs, award letters or proof of permanent or temporary workers’ compensation benefits
  • an Adult Disability Report

Other Helpful Information

There are organizations and law firms that make the process much easier, you can contact one in your local area if you think you might have trouble. You may use a Disability Starter Kit to help prepare for the application and interview process. You can also obtain The Blue Book, also known as the Disability Evaluation Under Social Security, to go over the medical criteria.

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