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How Do I Apply for SSDI Benefits?

Just the Essentials...

  • You can apply for disability benefits (SSDI) online using my Social Security.

  • Review the required information before filling out the application or making an appointment at your local Social Security office.

  • Social Security recommends starting the disability application online. It speeds up the approval process, which can take three to five months.

How do I apply for Medicare disability?

In order to be considered disabled by Social Security, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Unable to do substantial work because of medical conditions
  • Medical conditions must last at least 1 year, or may result in death
  • Under age 62
  • Have work history based on age when disability began, or using the work history of a parent or spouse

Disabling impairment could strike at any age. Social Security looks at any gainful work at the time of becoming disabled, as well as how long you worked before becoming disabled. The required work duration derives from age at the time of becoming disabled.

Generally, the older you are, the longer you must have worked to be eligible for Social Security disability income (SSDI) benefits.

The decision of whether someone is disabled comes from a five-step evaluation process. The state the applicant lives in evaluates these in a specific order:

  1. Are you working gainfully within a certain monthly average income?
  2. Does your medical condition limit basic work activities?
  3. Is your medical condition medically equivalent to a listed eligible impairment?
  4. Can you do the same work you did before?
  5. Can you do any other type of work?

Long-term disability benefits can result in eligibility for Medicare. After 24 months of receiving disability benefits, Medicare Parts A and B start automatically.

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Ways to Begin a Social Security Disability Application

Many people opt to apply for disability benefits online. It is faster than mail, by phone, or in person at a local Social Security office.

Before you start your application for disability benefits, consider which of the three methods works best for you. Then, get to know what information you’ll need for the application.

First, you could choose to apply for disability online at Social Security’s website. At the same time, you will need to create or log into your my Social Security account to complete the online application.

Second, you could apply in person by first calling Social Security at 1(800)772-1213 and setting up an in-person appointment at your local Social Security office.

Reach a special toll-free line for hearing impaired callers at TTY 1-800-325-0778.

You’ll need to bring several documents and other pieces of information in order to make the most out of that in-person appointment.

Lastly, you can apply by phone first calling the Social Security phone number, and setting an appointment for a telephone interview.

Either by phone or in person, Social Security will send you a Disability Starter Kit to prepare you for your disability claims interview.

The interview itself take about an hour to complete. Even if you apply online, you will need either an in-person appointment at your local Social Security office or a phone appointment with a representative to review your case.

Advantages of Applying for Social Security Disability Online

How do I apply for Medicare disability?

When you apply for disability online, significant advantages are:

  • Complete it at home
  • Start the application process immediately
  • No need to wait for a face-to-face appointment
  • No time on the phone with Social Security
  • Can complete online even if not living in the US at the time

When you also create a my Social Security account, you are able to do many other helpful tasks, such as:

  • Apply for other types of benefits
  • Apply to get Extra Help with Medicare prescription drug costs
  • Request a replacement Medicare card
  • Request a replacement Social Security card
  • Change direct deposit information for benefits
  • Get replacement tax forms
  • View your Social Security statement
  • Verify benefits and earnings

Can someone help you fill out a Social Security Disability application?

How do I apply for Medicare disability?

Given the nature of disability, the Social Security Administration understands that a person may need help applying for disability benefits.

Whenever conducting business with Social Security, you have the right to your choice of representation. The person helping an applicant can be a relative, friend, paralegal, attorney, employer, or a fellow member of an organization or advocacy group.

Several factors that you and the person helping you complete the application should know:

  • Information about the person assisting with the form may be gathered
  • Questions must be answered as the applicant would answer them
  • The applicant must “sign” the application (electronic signatures apply too)
  • If the applicant is not with the representative completing the form, or is unable to sign the application when completed, SSA will mail the representative a form to verify their signature.

While unnecessary for a person assisting to be a legal representative, an applicant can officially appoint someone to do business with the SSA on their behalf. In these cases, they will need to fill out the SSA-1696-U4 (Appointment of Representative).

Review the Adult Disability Checklist Before Starting

How do I apply for Medicare disability?

By preparing, you can gather information to quickly complete the application.

Before beginning the application process, applicants should review the Adult Disability Checklist.

Specifically, the online application requires the following personal information:

  • Date and place of birth
  • Legal name
  • Military service duty, branch, and length of service
  • Social Security number
  • Spouse/former spouse marriage and/or divorce dates
  • Name and DOB of minor children
  • Bank account information for direct deposit
  • Tax returns for your last two years of employment
  • Education and training history
  • Work history, including job title, type of business, pay rate, as well as weekly hours and years worked
  • If applicable, workers’ compensation claim number, date of injury, settlement agreement, and proof of benefit amounts received

By nature, disability status relates to personal, work, and medical information.

Just as importantly, gather the following information about your medical condition that you believe qualifies you for disability benefits.

Specifically, the disability application requires the following health information:

  • Detailed information about illness and conditions that limit your ability to work
  • Doctor, hospital, and clinic names, addresses, phone numbers, as well as first and last dates of treatment
  • List of medications, why they are taken, and the prescribing physician’s name
  • Names and dates of medical tests, as well as the provider who recommended them
  • If requiring assistance: name, address and contact information for a trusted person that knows of your conditions and can help fill out an application

Beginning the Disability Benefit Application

After reviewing the required information, you will begin the Disability Benefit Application.

The application requires a great deal of personal and medical information.  On average, applicants spend one to two hours filling out the form.

When filling out the application online, you can save as you go, which means you can take your time or take breaks as you need to.

The last step to beginning an online application requires you to complete the Medical Release form.

By signing the medical release form, you allow Social Security to access your medical records from your doctors in order to approve your disability case.

Medical records are an important part of the determination process.  Your doctor’s office plays a role in relaying information to Social Security about your medical conditions and treatments, as well as the ability to do work-related activities.

With respect to your medical conditions, Social Security asks your doctor about work-related abilities include walking, sitting, lifting and carrying objects, as well as remembering instructions.

Your doctors do not decide if you’re disabled, your state’s Disability Determination Services office does. Once given permission by the medical release form, they communicate with your doctors to assess your case.

If your doctors can’t provide enough information to get your case approved, then Social Security will set up a medical exam. Fortunately, Social Security pays for the exam itself and even some of the related travel costs. Typically, they will ask your own doctor, but another provider can give the medical exam.

What happens after submitting the application?

How do I apply for Medicare disability?

After you are finished with the application and all applicable forms, you will submit it to Social Security.

If you create an account at the my Social Security website, you can track your application online as well.

The process of getting approved for disability benefits can take three to five months. Applying online helps to expedites the process.

After the applying, you can expect the following to occur:

  • Confirmation of the application (electronically or by mail or phone)
  • Application and medical information are assessed
  • Contact will be made if more information or documentation is needed
  • If any other family members are eligible for benefits, information will be sent to applicant
  • Decision will be mailed to applicant

Now that you know what to expect when you fill out an application, you are ready to start the process.

If you have any questions or concerns, we have tons of helpful articles and blogs available.

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