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Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Many people become disabled and unable to work at some point in their life time. The United States government has developed Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security income to help workers who are no longer able to work due to a mental or physical health condition.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is administered by the Social Security Administration and funded through payroll taxes. To qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance you must have worked enough hours and contributed enough in payroll taxes to earn "work credits". The number of work credits needed to qualify for SSDI benefits will vary depending on the age you became disabled. If you are disabled, a widow or widower of a disabled employee, or child under the age of 18, you may be able to qualify for SSDI benefits.

Another Social Security Disability benefit program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI benefits are for individuals who are disabled, age 65 years or older or who have Social Security Disability blindness. SSI is not funded through payroll taxes and you do not have to accrue work credits to qualify. To qualify for SSI benefits you must have limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration currently defines limited resources as $2000 per individual and $3000 per couple. Most states will also provide Medicaid benefits to individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income.

If you are not able to work for twelve continuous months due to a severe physical or mental impairment, you may be able to receive either Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. If you are interested in getting more Social Security Disability information or need help in completing the Social Security Disability forms you can contact the Social Security Administration and they can answer all of your Social Security Disability questions.

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How to Apply for Social Security Benefits

To apply for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance you can contact the Social Security Administration Office by:

  • Calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You do not have to schedule an appointment, but an appointment may reduce your wait time.
  • Visiting them online by using their Internet Social Security Benefit Application.
  • Visiting the nearest Social Security Administration Regional Office. To locate the nearest Social Security Administration Office go to the Social Security Administration website at www.ssa.gov. Find the office locator page and enter your zip code. The Office Locator site will bring up the nearest Social Security Administration office in your Area.

Social Security Disability Information Needed to Apply

If you apply for Social Security Disability benefits in person, on the phone or online to expedite the benefits process, you will need the following information:

  • Birth Certificate or another proof of your birth
  • United States military discharge papers
  • Naturalization papers
  • Disability Forms SSA-3368 and SSA-827. These disability forms will outline your mental and physical health conditions and allow the information to be disclosed to the Social Security Administration.
  • Self-employment or W-2 Tax forms from the previous year. You can bring photocopies of these documents.

General Disability Questions

The Socials Security Administration will also ask you general questions about your mental or physical health condition and general information about yourself. The goal of this line of questions is to understand if your condition is severe enough to keep you from working.

  • Your name, age, and social security number
  • Your place and date of birth
  • Maiden name or any other names you have used
  • Your citizenship status
  • If you have every used another Social Security number
  • If anyone such as a parent has filed for SSI benefits or SSDI benefits on your behalf
  • If you have ever served in the armed forces
  • If you have ever worked for the railroad
  • If you can receive pension or benefits through employment with the United States government
  • Name, date of birth, and social security number of your spouse or former spouses
  • Dates and locations of all of your marriages and dates they ended.
  • Name, date of birth, and social security number of all of your children and if any of them were disabled before the age of 22
  • If you have filed or intend to file for public benefits such as worker's compensation
  • Information about all of your employers, names and dates of employment
  • If you are self-employed the SSA will gather information about your earnings for the past several years
  • If you are currently receiving or if you are going to be receiving money or compensation from your employer since you have become disabled and unable to work
  • If you are on parole, the conditions of your parole, or if you have any outstanding Federal or State warrants
  • The date of your injury or the date you became too sick to work.

Medical Disability Questions

You must complete form SSA-3368 which will outline all of your disability information including your medication, doctor's names, addresses and phone numbers. This form will also give you the opportunity to detail how your physical or mental condition keeps you from working. The Disability Report Forms can be found online. The SSA representative may ask you more questions after they review your form.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If you are considering applying for disability benefits or if you have applied for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits or Supplemental Security Income benefits and you have been denied, it may be a good idea to contact a Social Security Disability Attorney. Disability Attorneys are knowledgeable in how to get Social Security Disability benefits and may be able to either help with the Social Security Disability claim or provide information about the Social Security Disability appeals process.

Most SSI and SSDI Lawyers will not be able to file the initial Social Security Disability application for you, but studies have shown your chance of winning disability benefits increases at every stage of the Social Security Disability application process if you have hired a disability lawyer.

Most disability attorneys will also review your case and provide legal assistance on a contingency basis and will only get paid if you receive Social Security Disability benefits.

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