How Do You Apply for SSD Benefits?
If you think that you or a loved one may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it is important to promptly apply. Qualifying for benefits depends, in part, on how recently you have worked. So, the longer you wait to apply, the greater the risk that your application will be denied.
Ways to Apply for SSD Benefits
An application for SSD benefits may be filed online or on paper.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may apply for SSD benefits online if you:
- Are at least 18 years old,
- Do not currently receive benefits on your own Social Security number,
- Cannot work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or to result in your death, and
- Have not been denied benefits in the past 60 days.
If you have been denied benefits, you can use the online appeal process to request a review. You can save the online form and return to it later.
If you are not eligible to file online, you can download the application for disability benefits and fill it out on paper. You may also contact your local Social Security Administration office in Orlando or elsewhere in Florida for the forms.
What to Include in Your Application
The SSA provides an Adult Disability Checklist to help you collect and organize the information you will need to include in your disability application. The information you will need includes:
- Personal information (date and place of birth, information about your spouse and children and military status)
- Employment data (for or each of the three most recent years)
- List of your medical conditions
- Contact information for your doctors, healthcare providers and other places that may have copies of your medical records
- Your job history, education, and training history.
If you do not have some of this information immediately available, you can supplement your application with medical records, updates on your health status and other information.
The SSA may also ask for more information about specific health conditions or other factors that affect your application.
Avoid These Common Mistakes
Applying for SSD benefits can be a complex process. You can speed your application along and reduce your chances of being denied benefits by avoiding these common mistakes when applying for social security disability benefits:
Failing to promptly respond to the SSA’s requests for information – Delaying your response might result in a denial of your claim. Make sure you send the SSA any information it requests as soon as you can – or contact your attorney or the SSA office if you have a problem.
Not checking on the status of your claim – Checking the status of your claim regularly will help you determine whether things are moving along or if the SSA has lost your application or denied your claim without telling you. Check on your claim regularly to stay up to date.
Failing to disclose all your medical conditions or follow your doctor’s instructions – Your mental health can also prevent you from working and is as important to your SSA claim as your physical health. Make sure you disclose all your medical conditions and follow your doctor’s orders while waiting for a decision.
Assuming you can’t afford to work with an attorney – An experienced lawyer can help ensure your claim accurately reflects the true extent of your disabilities. A lawyer can reduce the chances of your claim being rejected.
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