How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability insurance is a form of financial support that individuals can collect if they have a qualifying medical condition. This program operates through the Social Security Administration (SSA), and petitioners must apply directly to this sector of the government if they would like to collect benefits from this fund. Contrary to popular belief, claimants who are eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits are not always elderly. Young individuals can also collect disability, under special circumstances.

Another popular misconception about Social Security disability is that many people believe they will never need this support. However, statistics tell a different story. The SSA reports that a little more than one in four people who are 20 years of age today will be disabled by the time they turn 67. Regardless of claimants’ current health, everyone should know how to get Social Security disability in the event of an emergency. In fact, some workers who are currently unemployed may be qualified to collect disability insurance and not even know it. Therefore, it is important that individuals understand the requirements to enroll in this program, as well as how to submit a claim.

What are the requirements to get Social Security disability?

The Social Security disability requirements for enrollment are uniform throughout the country. This helps to ensure that, no matter where eligible claimants live, they can access the support they need. First, petitioners need to know that Social Security (SS) is only available to individuals who meet the administration’s definition of being “disabled.” Specifically, benefits are only available to applicants who are:

  • No longer able to work at the jobs they had been doing before their disabilities.
  • Unable to perform alternative work due to their medical situations.
  • Expected to have these disabilities for at least one year or for the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, there is a Social Security disability list of impairments that applicants must consult if they are interested in collecting benefits. This list includes groupings of different medical conditions that individuals must have in order to collect benefits. Qualifying impairments could relate to:

  • Mental illness and speech disorders.
  • Respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular issues.
  • Immune system disorders and skin conditions.
  • Neurological disorders and cancers.

However, claimants must remember that this is not an exhaustive list of conditions that can qualify them to receive SS disability benefits in their states. Therefore, applicants should consult with the SSA to see if their particular circumstances make them eligible to collect funding.

Candidates who apply for Social Security disability need to remember that the SSA will also take into account their employment history. This information is important because only individuals who worked for a certain amount of time can qualify for benefits. Specifically, applicants must have worked and paid SS taxes long enough to be able to collect funds through this program. These totals are based on yearly wages. However, there are also some circumstances where Social Security disability for children is available. In these instances, petitioners usually need to submit an application for Social Security Income (SSI), as well as a Child Disability Report.

How do I apply for Social Security disability insurance?

Petitioners who need financial assistance may want to know how to apply for Social Security disability insurance to find support during this time in their lives. Generally, claimants who apply for SS disability will not be able to collect benefits until the sixth complete month that they have their disabilities. Therefore, it is imperative that candidates file their petitions as soon as they are eligible to do so. In any case, claimants may file a Social Security disability application online or over the phone. Both options allow candidates to submit their requests to the SSA.

However, applicants may prefer to apply for Social Security disability online because this is the quicker method in terms of processing times. When claimants elect to file electronic submissions, the SSA is able to receive and file their requests more quickly than if they called the SSA. This is due to the fact that calling the administration involves a two-step process. When petitioners first call the Social Security disability office, they must set a time when they can apply for benefits. The actual application process will either take place at a later date by phone or during an in-person consultation.

How do I prepare for the Social Security disability interview?

The Social Security disability interview is required after claimants file their applications with the SSA. This important step in the enrollment process allows the SSA application evaluators to obtain additional information about the applicant’s eligibility. As a result, the Social Security disability interview questions that the case workers ask relate to whether or not applicants qualify to receive funding. Likewise, this interview is also required so petitioners can bring any documentation that supports the claims they made throughout their applications. Specifically, applicants should bring:

  • Medical records – Petitioners should bring to their interviews all of the medical records they have at home, especially as they relate to the conditions that qualify them to receive SS disability insurance.
  • Proof of workers’ compensation – If claimants receive workers’ compensation, they need to bring information regarding these claims to their interviews.
  • Household information – Applicants must report the names and birth dates of their spouses and children who are younger than 18 years of age.
  • Marriage records – Candidates must disclose the dates of their marriages and divorces.
  • Banking information – Petitioners need to bring their bank account and routing numbers to the Social Security disability office for their interviews.

How do I file a Social Security disability appeal?

After petitioners complete their SS disability interview, the SSA will make its decision regarding whether or not the claimants qualify for funding. This decision will arrive to the applicants as a Social Security disability status notification, which will explain whether or not the petitioners were accepted into the program. If the SSA rejected the applicants’ claims, these petitioners may be able to file appeals to overturn these decisions. Candidates may file their requests online, and they must be sure to provide information that validates why their claims merit reconsideration. When filing these SS disability insurance appeal requests, petitioners must include:

  • Updates regarding their medical conditions and doctor visits.
  • A complete list of any medications they are taking at the time of their appeals.
  • Any changes that related to their health, schooling or employment.
  • Medical reports and statements that verify their circumstances.