January 18, 2020

How do I apply for Social Security Disability?

Applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI): Pros and Cons of the 3 Application Methods (telephone, in-person, or online)

One of the most common questions that we are frequently asked is “How do I apply for SSDI benefits?” In most circumstances, an individual can apply for SSDI benefits provided that they have been diagnosed with a medical or mental condition which has rendered them incapable of performing their jobs as well as everyday tasks. There are three ways to file for SSDI benefits if the above applies to you – in-person, online, or by telephone.

Thanks to the internet, the application can be done online and provides the claimant with some additional benefits. These include being able to pause or stop during the application process (in midstream) and saving that information until the application can be completed. Basically, this enables you to stop filling out the application until you are able to gather the information that is required. The biggest benefit is that this saves you the misery of either appearing in-person or spending considerable time on the telephone.

Whether you apply in-person or over the telephone, you are basically participating in a live interview which may make you wonder who the person is that is assisting you in the application process. You are usually going to speak with an SSA Claims Representative at your local (possibly regional) Social Security Administration office. This person is initially the one who is responsible for making administrative decisions regarding the determination of your eligibility.

Applying in person means that you are going to have to drive to the SSA office that you are under the jurisdiction of. It could be 5 minutes from your house or 5 hours away. This tends to be inconvenient for most people, so applying by telephone is the better option of the two. You simply dial their toll-free phone and be patient with the automated grief that you are most likely going to encounter during this stage of the application process.

As an added bit of advice, you’ll want to inform the SSA Claims Representative you speak with that you want to apply for both SSDI and SSI benefits. The person is going to ask you when you became disabled and were no longer able to work. If you already have medical or psychiatric records attesting to the onset of your condition, you can refer to those records. However, if they are not at your disposal, then make an educated guess and can always amend that information later.