How do I apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Trying to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits? Many people choose to apply on their own, but if you wish to be represented by an attorney, we can help you every step of the way. Just contact us and we’ll reach out to you as soon as possible.

Make sure you know whether to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. SSDI and SSI are both federal benefits that are available to people who are disabled and cannot work, and both rely on the same federal standard of disability.

SSDI stands for Social Security Disability Insurance, and it functions like an insurance plan for workers. It falls under Title II of the Social Security Act. These benefits are available to individuals who have paid Social Security taxes over a sufficiently long period, and the benefits amount is based on the worker’s earnings record. These benefits are available regardless of the person’s income or assets.

SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income and is a federal welfare program for the elderly, blind, and disabled.  It falls under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Unlike SSDI, these benefits are paid out of general revenues, not the Social Security trust fund. The benefit amount for SSI is set by Congress, and states may add a supplemental amount. Unlike SSDI, SSI is “needs-based.” To be eligible for SSI, an individual must meet the income and assets requirements of the program.

How to apply

If you want to try applying on your own, refer to this step by step process. You can save your application as you go, just make sure to save your re-entry number.

  1. Check to see if you meet the requirements to apply online for disability
  2. Gather the information you need to complete the application
  3. Go To SSA Online Services
  4. Enter your information for your claim
  5. Submit your online application with the Federal Social Security Administration
  6. A disability analyst from your state will review your case and determine whether or not you are disabled according to federal guidelines.

Application check list

  • Birth and citizenship information:
    • Permanent resident card number (If you are not a U.S. Citizen)
  • Marriage and divorce information:
    • Spouse(s) date of birth and SSN
  • Names and birth dates of children
  • U.S. Military Service information
  • Employment details for current year and prior 2 years
  • Bank information for direct deposit
  • Name and contact information for someone who can help you with your claim
  • Contact information for your doctors, hospitals and clinics:
    • Information on where additional medical records can be obtained such as vocational rehabilitation services, and workers’ compensation
    • Job History:
      • Date your medical condition began to affect your ability to work
      • Information on additional jobs you have had
    • Your education and training information

Download the checklist for the Online Adult Disability Application from the Social Security Administration’s website:

Have you been denied after your initial appeal? Don’t be discouraged! Follow the link here and contact us to help you appeal and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.