Disabled man visiting attorney to help with SSD claim

How Do I Get Disability Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

If you have a disabling condition that will prevent you from substantial gainful activity, work, for at least 12 months, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. SSD benefits can provide critical financial support to those prevented from working due to a disabling condition. In order to access SSD benefits, however, you must first apply. The application process can be difficult and it is common for initial applications to be denied, which may then go on to be successful on appeal. Here is how you can apply for SSD benefits.

How Do I Get Disability Benefits?

Due to waiting times and processing times, there is a delay between when a person becomes disabled and when you are eligible to receive disability benefits. As you are likely out of work due to your disabling condition and, thus may be in great financial need, it is important to apply soon after you become disabled. You must, however, be able to provide adequate medical evidence of your disability and the fact that it is likely to last at least 12 months, so this may require waiting a bit after you become disabled before you apply. SSD benefits will not kick in until you are in your sixth full month of disability. This waiting period starts with the first full month after the date SSA determines your disability began.

There are a few different ways that you can apply for SSD. You can fill out an application online. In the alternative, you can call the SSA toll free number to apply. Phone representatives can schedule an appointment for your application to be taken over the phone. The phone representative can also schedule a time for you to go into a Social Security office to fill out your application.

In order to qualify for SSD benefits, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a disabling condition preventing you from participating in substantially gainful activity. You will go through an SSA consultative exam as part of the process of establishing the fact that you have a disabling condition. Most of the time, however, the consultative exam will not be enough to substantiate this claim. This means that you will likely need to supply other medical records from your treating physicians in order to be approved for disability benefits. Your medical records should include explicit statements from your doctor regarding the limits you are experiencing due to your disabling condition. It will also be important for your medical records to show that you are complying with the treatment plan established by your doctors.

Disability Attorney

Disability applications are often denied and require an appeal. To prevent a denial or delay in receiving SSD benefits, take steps to ensure you are complying with application and SSD program requirements. Disability Advocates is here to provide you with legal support during this process. We will work with you to help see your application through to a successful conclusion. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.