Who will help me with my disability application?One of the most common questions on our disability forum is, Will someone help me with the disability application process? Given that many SSI and SSDI claimants are very disabled and unable to work or may be suffering from extreme mental health conditions, this question is very reasonable. This blog will specifically address the types of assistance you can expect in the disability application process.
Help from the Social Security Administration
Ideally, you would be able to contact the Social Security Administration and they would assign a representative who would patiently sit with you and walk you through the disability application forms and make sure you have all of the correct information. Unfortunately, this will not happen.
The SSA gets over 2 million disability applications each year and simply is not able to provide personalized assistance to each and every SSI or SSDI applicant. Disability applicants can contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 and schedule an appointment with an SSA representative but do not expect them to be able to spend an extended amount of time with you answering countless questions.
Help from a Family member or friend
Honestly, contacting a family member or friend for help can be one of the best options for most disability applicants. They may be willing to help you for free, and they can answer questions from the SSA, complete the application forms and can even speak with a disability lawyer on your behalf if necessary. The only part of the process that they cannot do for you is attend your disability hearing, which is only necessary if you receive multiple disability denials and make multiple disability appeals.
Help from a Disability Lawyer
Hiring a disability lawyer can also be a good idea for many applicants. They work on a contingency fee basis and are only paid if you win your SSI or SSDI claim. If you win they are paid 25% of your back pay up to a maximum of $6,000.
One downside to this option is that many SSDI or SSI lawyers do not help complete the disability application and generally take cases after you have been denied SSDI or SSI. This is just a generalization, however, and many disability lawyers and advocates do get more involved at the beginning of disability process. The best thing to do is talk to several advocates and lawyers to find out exactly what additional services they will provide and at what costs.
Help from a business who specializes in application submission
If you hire a company to help complete your SSI or SSDI application they will assign a case manager to your case who will help you complete the initial SSI application or SSDI application on the phone, and contact the SSA and make sure your forms were received.
This service is not free or cheap, but if you are not able to successfully complete your SSI or SSDI application on your own this can be a great option. Consider also, these companies understand the disability application process and what types of data the SSA is looking for and can greatly increase your chances of winning benefits the first time you apply. They will also have the expertise to evaluate whether you meet the nonmedical criteria of SSI and SSDI and may be able to save you time if you are not going to qualify.
- SSDI - Do I have to go 12 months without income to get benefits? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)