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5 Steps to begin your benefits

FDR on Social Security

Every day on our blog disability applicants want to know, “What is the quickest and easiest way to start the disability process?” Unfortunately, for most SSI and SSDI applicants the process will not be simple or easy, but by taking five simple steps you may be able to eliminate some of the hassle.

1.    Make sure you meet the requirements of SSDI or SSI disability.

The very first step in the SSDI or SSI process is to review the requirements, both medical and nonmedical, to see if you even qualify for benefits. If you are applying for SSDI this means you need to check the number of work credits you have and make sure you are insured. If you do not have enough work credits you will have to apply for SSI so you will need to review your resource and income limitations to verify you are under the limit for the SSI program. There will be many disabled applicants who do not qualify for either program.

2.    Make sure you have received proper medical care for your condition.

Every day claimants ask if they can get SSDI or SSI if they have not seen a doctor. Although it may be possible, it is VERY unlikely. The SSA relies almost exclusively on your recent medical records to determine if you are disabled or not. Go see a doctor BEFORE you apply for SSI or SSDI.

3.    Make sure you are not working too much or making too much money.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) will evaluate whether or not you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). If you can perform this level of work you will be found NOT disabled, regardless of the severity of your condition. Bottom line, if you are working too or making too much money you need not apply for SSDI or SSI because the Social Security Administration (SSA) will deny your claim.

4.   Gather all of the proper documents together prior to the application process.

Whether you are applying in-person, via the phone or online having the proper documentation prior to starting the application process is critical. Do not waste your time or the Social Security Administration’s time if you have not gathered the following documents:

  • 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 dependent information

  • Public benefit information you are currently receiving

  • Information about your disability

  • W-2 tax forms

5.    Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA).

If you would like to apply for Social Security Disability benefits in contact the Social Security Administration either by phone at 1-800-772-1213, visiting them online at or scheduling an in-person interview. The SSA site has an office locator page where you can find the nearest office.

Allow 30-120 days to hear back from the Social Security Administration after you submit your application. If you have questions about the status of your application you can call them at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at and click on check application status which is on the left side of the screen. If you are denied you will be notified by mail and you will have 60 days to appeal the denial by filing a reconsideration.
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