If you wish to receive social security disability benefits, you should file a disability claim as soon as you become disabled. It takes around five months after claiming disability to start receiving cash payments, as this helps the Social Security Administration (SSA) ensure that the claimant’s disability is a lasting one. Furthermore, back payments are limited to a year prior to the filing date.
While you may file for disability by yourself, it is advisable to hire a social security disability lawyer to know whether you meet the qualifying requirements according to disability laws. Here is a guide on how to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to help you prepare your disability application.
1. File your initial application.
Fill out the application for social security and submit it online or to your local social security office. The claimant should provide as much documentation as they can regarding their medical disability, including the following:
- your medical records and other relevant information such as
- names and contact details of doctors
- hospitals and clinics you went to
- medications you are taking
- your birth certificate (either original or certified copy), or proof of US citizenship or legal residency (if you were born in another country);
- your military discharge papers (either original or certified copy), if you were in military service;
- your w-2 form for the previous year (if you worked) or your federal tax return (if you were self-employed);
- workers compensation information, such as date of injury, claim number, and proof of payment amounts;
- social security numbers of your spouse and minor children if any;
- your checking or savings account number if any;
- kinds of jobs and dates you worked in the 15 years prior to becoming unable to work;
- name and contact details of the person to reach out to if the agency is unable to get in touch with you.
2. Wait for the results of the evaluation of your claim.
Once filed, disability claims go to the Disability Determination Services (DDS) or Disability Determination Bureau (DDB), and a claims examiner determines whether you qualify for SSI benefits or SSDI benefits. Any examination or report required by the SSA to verify a claim for disability will have to be paid for by the claimant. If the agency deems that your file does not have enough medical evidence proving your disability, then your claim is denied and you will have the option to appeal.
3. Appeal for reconsideration.
If your application gets denied, you may appeal and have it reconsidered. Your claim will be evaluated by other claims examiners. The reconsideration process usually takes as long as the initial application, and the decision typically remains the same unless you are able to provide additional paperwork supporting your claim. If your disability benefits claim from social security is still not approved, you may request a hearing from a social security judge.
4. Attend a hearing before an administrative law judge.
Most claimants applying for benefits get their claims approved during the hearing with administrative law judges. However, the wait for hearings takes as long as one to two years. As such, it is better for applicants to aim for their initial claims to be approved, rather than having to go through a hearing.
If you are considering applying for social security disability benefits, consult with experienced social security disability attorneys from Farmer & Wright, PLLC for legal advice on how to increase the likelihood that your disability claims get approved. Call us now for a free initial consultation.