The process of applying for Social Security Disability can be a long and difficult one, so it is recommended that you apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled. There are two main ways you can initiate your application:
- Contact your local Social Security office, and make an appointment for a representative to take your claim through a phone interview. This usually takes about an hour, and Social Security will tell you ahead of time what information you will need during the interview.
- Make an appointment with a Social Security Advocate or Specialist, and they will help you through the application process.
The average time to complete the application process is three to five months. You will need to complete both the application for Social Security benefits as well as a Disability Report. There will also be forms regarding your disabling condition, and you’ll need to sign a release so that doctors and other medical professionals can release information to Social Security. In order to get the ball rolling, you will need the following information:
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth or baptismal certificate
- Names, addresses and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics that took care of you and dates of your visits
- Names and dosage of all the medicine you take
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession;
- Laboratory and test results
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
- A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year
More than 60 percent of first-time applicants are denied, and the appeal process can be overwhelming. If you find you need help getting approved for disability benefits, consult with an Advocate or an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability.