How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

Navigating the process and knowing how to apply for Social Security disability benefits is a highly complicated task for anyone. There are two ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits:

#1: File your claim with the help of a professional

We suggest that you seek the advice of experienced representation to help you apply for Social Security disability benefits. If you’re not sure how to apply for Social Security disability benefits, most people think it may be cheaper and easier to simply file these forms on their own directly with the Social Security Administration. The vast majority of people that get approved for benefits get help from a professional Social Security advocate or attorney. In fact, 57% of applicants that eventually get their claims approved only do so after the SSA rejects their claim paperwork multiple times. However, professional help is available to you with no out-of-pocket costs on a contingency basis, meaning that you don’t pay any legal fees unless you are awarded benefits.

An experienced Social Security advocate or attorney knows how the system works and will handle most of the process for you, including taking care of all the paperwork with the government. They will help remove the confusion that may cause you to lose your rightful benefits.

With experienced help, you may be able to make the process much easier:

  • Potentially increase the likelihood of winning your case
  • Maximize benefits due (get the most money you can qualify for)
  • Save time and confusion
  • Have experienced representation file your appeals, if needed
  • Get your paperwork filed more quickly and accurately
  • Reduce chances of denial based on unexpected technicalities
  • Avoid fee payment unless you win

#2: How to apply for Social Security disability benefits on your own directly through the Social Security Administration

Filing your own claim requires that you complete all necessary paperwork, gather your medical documentation, communicate and follow up with the Social Security Administration (SSA) about your case, handle all legal correspondence, and attend court hearings and appeals without representation.

Regardless of the choice you make in how to apply for Social Security disability benefits, you will be required to present the same documentation and understand the filing process so that you can maximize your benefits. Below is information to help you understand how to apply for Social Security disability benefits with all necessary filing requirements.

Filling out the application and forms

There are many forms that must be completed thoroughly and accurately. This is not a process that you should rush through. Making a mistake in your application can delay a judgment for weeks. The application is the first piece of evidence the SSA uses in making a determination for your claim. It is therefore extremely important to understand how to make statements that will help your claim and avoid terminology or admissions that will result in a denial.

Many applicants find the claim forms to be confusing. Not only is an applicant dealing with the stress of becoming disabled, but in order to complete their application they must learn and comprehend a significant amount of unfamiliar terminology. Phrases and words that may seem to mean one thing to an applicant may have a very specific, and perhaps different, meaning to the SSA. The technical jargon can make the process of proving your disability frustrating. If you are unfamiliar with what is required by the SSA, a hastily completed application will almost certainly result in a denial of benefits.

The SSA requires quite a lot of information. Click here to download a handy disability application checklist with the most important documents you’ll most likely need.

TIP: Before applying for Social Security disability benefits on your own, you have the right to a free evaluation of your claim with an experienced Social Security disability advocate or attorney. An attorney can explain how to apply for Social Security disability benefits and evaluate your claim’s validity before submitting it to the SSA.

How To Prepare For Your SSDI Claim

Be sure to research your disability thoroughly before you apply for monthly disability benefits. To see what conditions the DDS lists as potentially qualifying for disability benefits, review the agency’s updated SSA Blue Book online. Proving a disabling condition to the SSA requires a significant amount of medical documentation and evidence. This is because disability claims are approved based on the medical evidence provided by your doctors, caregivers, and treatment facilities. However, making an incorrect statement on your application because you do not understand the answer the SSA looks for could lead to a denial. If your claim for disability benefits is rejected due to a basic paperwork error, it’s called a “technical denial.” Not knowing how to apply for Social Security disability benefits makes you much more likely to get a technical denial letter in the mail. But if it happens to you, don’t worry! You may still win benefits on appeal. From 2015 to 2017, only around 23% of claimants had their applications approved on the first try. However, about twice as many applicants do win benefits at some point during the appeals process.

Disability Report

Perhaps the most important aspect of your application is the Disability Report. Many applicants spend a few days filling out only this form. This is because it provides the most critical information regarding your disability. These are the statements you will make about your condition and therefore, anything you state on this form will be used by the SSA as a determination of your own assessment regarding your disability. Before filling out the Disability Report it is recommended that you gather your documentation. Your medical records must support anything that you state in your Disability Report.

You May Qualify for Legal Assistance

The application process can seem like an impossible task. For a disabled worker, approval of Social Security disability benefits is essential for making financial ends meet. An experienced lawyer or disability advocate can assist you by checking your application for mistakes and ensure it accurately conveys your current limitations. And if you haven’t yet applied, a lawyer can help you complete your application and file it free of charge. Since 38% of applicants get denied benefits for making mistakes on these forms, a lawyer can help you avoid that. And a lawyer can represent you at your appeals hearing if needed. Our lawyers always work on contingency, so you’ll never pay legal fees unless they help you win benefits.

Ready to see if you may qualify for legal assistance with your claim? Click the button below to start your free disability benefits evaluation now.

Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation