Five Steps to Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be somewhat complicated. Although it may not seem like much, there are plenty of potential ways you could mess up your application and harm your chances of accessing your benefits. Here are the five steps you need to follow so you can apply for Social Security disability benefits:

  1. Obtain what medical records you can
    • The first step to applying for Social Security disability benefits is obtaining what medical records you can. These records may come from your general practitioner, from any hospitals where you were treated, or from any specialists or emergency care facilities you visited. It is fine if your records are not complete, but you should at least have information about where any other records might be found.
  2. Collect all relevant personal information
    • As with almost any other government application, you will need a lot of personal information to apply for Social Security disability benefits. This includes basic information such as your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number, as well as any similar information for your children and spouse (including any ex-spouses). You will also need any necessary economic information, depending on whether you are applying for SSI or SSDI benefits, and you will need any information about any workers’ compensation claims you have made.
  3. Fill out and file your application
    • Once you have all the relevant information you need, you will need to fill out an application. This can be done either on the Social Security website, calling your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office, or submitting a paper application to the SSA. This application should be as thorough and complete as possible, as any missing information could result in your application being delayed or denied.
  4. Go for your Social Security interview
    • Assuming you filled out your application correctly, you will be asked to go for an interview at your local Social Security office. During this interview, you will be asked about details related to your disability, including the extent to which it hinders your ability to work and how much it affects your daily life. By default, this interview usually takes about an hour, but you can save about half an hour by applying for benefits online, making the process easier for both you and the SSA.
  5. Get evaluated by DDS
    • If you get through your interview successfully, you will then be evaluated by Disability Determination Services (DDS). Rather than relying on a private doctor’s evaluation about your disability, the medical examiners at DDS will perform a thorough examination to determine the nature and extent of your symptoms. If they determine you meet the medical criteria to be considered disabled, you will then be on your way to approval for Social Security disability benefits.

If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.

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