By: Disability Advocate
Individual who are disabled and unable to work often wonder what is the first step to getting Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI benefits.
Before applying claimants must first be unable to work due to a severe mental or physical health condition which is so severe that they are unable to work for at least 12 continuous months.
Does the claimant have to be unemployed for 12 months prior to applying for SSDI? No, but if the claimant is working too much or making too much money, they will be denied SSDI benefits by the Social Security Administration, regardless of the severity of their health condition.
Keep in mind, there is a 5 month waiting period to receive SSDI benefits, but due to the lengthy processing time, this is generally not an issue. In fact, many SSDI claimants will be eligible for back pay.
So what is the first step in the SSDI process? You will need to contact the SSA in one of the following ways:
• Calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213
• Visiting the Social Security Administration online at www.socialsecurity.gov
• Visit a Social Security Administration Regional Office. The nearest regional Social Security Office can be found by visiting the Social Security Administration’s website office locator site. If you enter your zip code in on this page it will display the closest office to you in your area.
What information do I need to apply for SSDI?
Whether or not you decide to apply in person, over the phone or online, you will need to gather certain documents and information to complete the SSDI application. Not having the proper documentation will make the process more difficult and could waste a lot of time.
The Social Security Administration recommends gathering all of the following documents for the application process.
• Employment records for the last 15 years and the date of the last day you worked
• Prescription information, including, names, dosage amount and prescribing doctors
• Hospital, doctor, and clinics names, phone numbers and addresses
• The Social Security Number of the individual applying for Social Security Disability benefits
• A valid birth certificate
• Marriage and dependant information
• Public benefit information you are currently receiving
• Information about your disability
• W-2 tax forms
Who can help me with the SSDI Application Process?
Many claimants are severely disabled and may not have the energy and resources to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance on their own. Who can help with the SSDI application process? Unfortunately, even if you do decide to hire a disability lawyer, many of them will not complete the initial application for you.
The initial application process is tedious and time-consuming. It requires very specific information that only the claimant knows. For this reason, most disability lawyers do not complete applications for their clients.
Some disability lawyers may be willing to provide a cursory review of the process and give claimants advice on information which should be included on the application but do not expect most disability lawyers to fill out the SSDI application for you.
If you need extensive help, contact a family member or close friend. You also should schedule a meeting with an SSA examiner who may provide additional information on completing the SSDI application.
Hiring a Social Security Disability Lawyer
So if the SSDI attorney does not complete the SSDI application, what do they do for you?
• Review your Social Security Administration disability file to make sure that the file contains all of the necessary medical records to prove your disability claim.
• Make sure your SSDI case is ready to present to the Administrative Law Judge at an Administrative Hearing
• SSDI Disability lawyers can work with your treating doctors to ensure they have completed a Residual Functional Capacity Form (RFC form) which clearly documents your limitations to work.
• Identify missing information in your SSA medical file and determine why you have been denied disability benefits.
• Review your mental and physical health conditions and determine if they are on the SSA Listing of Impairments and if they should be automatically considered disabling.
If you would like a SSDI disability attorney to review your claim you can fill out the FREE evaluation form and a disability advocate will call you to review your claim or you can call our office at 1-800-641-3759 to talk to someone now.