How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

As soon as you become disabled, you should apply for Social Security Disability benefits. After applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, there is a five-month waiting period. This means that payments will not begin until six months from the beginning of your disability. 

If you apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) will start payments a month from the date you filed your claim or, if later, the date upon which you became eligible for SSI benefits. Six months or even one month without these critical financial resources can be a lot and that is why time is of the essence in submitting your application for Social Security benefits. To help get you started, let’s take a look at how to go about applying for Social Security Disability benefits.

Step-By-Step Guide to Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can submit a disability benefits application to the SSA either online or by phone. Online can be a lot easier for many reasons, but, if you are unable to complete the application online, you can call the SSA’s toll-free number anytime between 8 am and 7 pm. An SSA representative will then make an appointment for you to call and go through submitting your application via telephone.

Before your telephone application appointment or before you begin your online application, it can be helpful to check that you have all of the information you need to submit a completed application. To apply, you will need to provide:

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Proof of your age
  • Name and contact information for treating doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics
  • The dates upon which you visited your doctors and other medical professionals
  • The name and dosages of all medications you are currently taking
  • The medical records from your medical provider visits you are currently in possession of
  • Lab work and other test results
  • A list of up to 5 jobs and the dates you worked over the last 15 years (including a summary of where you worked and the nature of the work you performed)
  • Your most recent W-2 form (If you were self-employed, a copy of your federal tax return)

This is a lot of information and there are many questions you will need to answer to have a complete disability benefits application. Know that, if you are applying online, you will not be required to answer all of the questions in just one session. Should you need more time, you can always save the information you already entered and pause once you pass the re-entry number screen. When you use your personal my Social Security account, you can just sign into your account again and restart work on your application.

Upon submitting your application, you will then be asked by the SSA to sign a medical release form which allows them to request information and records from your doctors. Once they have received all the requested information, they will process your claim. You will receive a letter as to the decision rendered on your disability benefits application.

Los Angeles Social Security Disability Attorney

There are a lot of things you need to submit to have a complete and strong Social Security disability benefits application. Make sure you are putting your strongest foot forward by getting help from the team at Disability Advocates Group. 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.