What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
How do you Win Benefits under Social Security Disability or SSI?
If I am determined disabled, how far back will Social Security pay benefits?
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition?
What Can I Do to Improve My Chances of Winning Disability Benefits
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Denial of Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits
How to File for Disability - Tips for Filing
If You Get Approved For SSDI Will You Also Get Medicare?
How much does a Social Security disability attorney get paid?
Social Security Disability SSI Criteria and the Evaluation Process
How long does it take to be approved for SSI or Social Security disability?
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Social Security Disability SSI and Degenerative Disc Disease
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
Answers to questions about SSD and SSI disability
What Disabilities Qualify for SSI and Social Security Disability Benefits?
Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability Tips — how a claim gets worked on
Social Security Disability, SSI Disability - Terms, Definitions, Concepts
How do you Apply for SSI?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
There are three separate means by which an individual may apply for SSI.
1. Calling the Teleclaim center.
2. Visiting the social security administration website and filing the claim online. Note: The benefit of receiving a protected filing date only pertains to social security disability claims that are filed online, not to SSI claims.
In fact, technically speaking, it is not possible to actually apply for SSI since the online process only provides a point of contact, or lead, for a local security office to follow up on by later contacting a claimant.
3. Contacting a local social security office.
The preferred method will be to contact a local office. The social security administration has, in recent years, encouraged claimants to use the online process. However, there are short-comings and inefficiencies associated with the online process.
For instance, as was mentioned, it is not possible to file for SSI online. This presents a significant complication since many disability claims are either filed solely under the SSI disability program, or are filed concurrently in both programs (see Concurrent Disability claims).
Additionally, there is the simple fact that attempting to apply for SSI or SSDI (social security disability insurance) is a process best served when the claimant has the ability to ask questions and receive answers from a Social Security claims representative (claims reps, or CRs, are the individuals who take disability and retirement claims in social security field offices).
Using the online process does not allow for this and using the toll free 1-800 line often results in the claimant receiving incorrect or outdated information (receiving bad information from the teleclaim center has been a widespread complaint for many years).
Applying for SSI through a social security field office can be initiated by calling the office and requesting that an appointment be made for a disability application interview. The interview can be conducted in person and this is typically the preferred option. However, for individuals who have transportation issues or mobility issues as a result of their condition, the disability interview can be conducted over the phone.
For those who are wondering what makes a the phone interview with a social security field office different from a phone interview with the teleclaims center, the simple answer is that the personnel at a field office actually work on claims whereas the teleclaims center is staffed by individuals who simply take the information from a claimant and then forward the information to a field office.
This nearly ensures that the teleclaims staffers will have very little direct experience when it comes to the processing of a disability claim, and this probably accounts for why so many claimants in recent years have been given incorrect or misleading information from the teleclaim center.
If an SSI application is handled by a local social security field office, a claimant should do the following in advance of the disability interview appointment to ensure that the disability application is filed with the information that is needed to process an accurate decision:
1. Produce a written work history for the fifteen year period prior to the claimant's onset of disability. This fifteen year period is known as the relevant period and all jobs that have been worked during this time frame may potentially be considered as jobs to which the claimant might be considered capable of returning, assuming that their mental or physical condition does not impose functional limitations that rule this out.
It will be especially important for the claimant to include accurate job titles and accurate and detailed descriptions of duties performed on each job. This is important because the majority of SSDI and SSI claims are decided by comparing the demands and work skills of a claimant's past jobs to their current physical or mental condition and determining A) whether or not they possess the ability to go back to a past job and B) whether or not they possess the ability to do some type of other work based on the skills they have developed over the course of their work history.
If a claimant does not compile their work history in advance of the disability application interview, this same information will be requested at the time of the interview. However, doing it in advance will allow a claimant to give more thought and consideration to supplying their work history information--which can be helpful considering that the social security administration requests information for the prior 15 years.
Compiling the work history in advance may also result in more accurate information for the same reasons. And this is particularly important since there are instances in which jobs are misidentified, the result being that the disability claim is denied on the basis of the claimant being able to return to a past job, or is denied on the basis of the claimant having specific job skills that transfer to other types of employment--which may not be the case if one or more jobs are improperly identified. It should go without saying that supplying accurate and detailed information regarding the relevant work history is of utmost important.
2. Produce a history of medical treatment received from all medical treatment providers, dating back to at least the claimant's onset of disability, but preferably to the time of initial diagnosis as well. Disability decisions for SSDI and SSI claims are both medical and vocational in nature, meaning that whether or not a claimant is approved or denied will depend on A) what the claimant's medical records have to say about their condition and B) what the claimant's work history indicates about the requirements of their past work, as well as the work skills they may possess.
Continued at: How to File for SSI, Part II
Return to: SSDRC, or the Questions, Answers, Tips, and Advice page
Topics and Questions
Requesting a Social Security Hearing when you have a Disability Representative or Attorney
Filing for Disability Online or over the phone
Filing Disability Appeals- Reminders About the SSD, SSI Appeal Process
Speeding up the Request for a Social Security Hearing - Documentation that is needed
Applying for disability benefits in Florida
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Social Security Disability Claims and Medical Exams
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How do you apply for disability for your children ?
How Quick Is The Disability Claim Decision Made?
What Happens When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application?
Social Security Disability and SSI Disability Benefits
Will Social Security Deny You Disability Without Looking At Your Medical Records?
How Long Does It Take For An Answer To Qualify For Social Security Disability or SSI?
How Long Will It Take To Get Approved for Disability?
Appealing a Social Security Disability or SSI Denial with a Disability Hearing Before an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge)
Social Security Disability Claim Status
How long can you receive SSI or Social Security disability benefits ?
Are There Social Security Disability Guidelines For How Disabled You Have to Be?
For Social Security Disability Do I Need To Give My Dates of Treatment?
How Can I Get Social Security Disability If I Have Not Worked For A Long Time?
Can you be denied for SSDI or SSI disability if social security cannot find your medical records?
How long does it take to get an answer on a Social Security Reconsideration Appeal?
What does the social security administration definition of disability actually say?
What does SSA consider a severe impairment for Social Security Disability or SSI Disability Benefits?
Can you get temporary Social Security disability or SSI benefits ?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made
If you are Denied for Disability, Should you File a new Application or File an Appeal of the Denial?
Social Security Disability Approvals - Medical Conditions and Getting Approved
What is a Social Security Disability Denial based on?
What happens if you get denied for social security disability three times?
How long does it take to get a decision on Social Security disability ?
Social Security Disability, SSI, and Whether or Not a Person can Still Work
Social Security Disability--Permanent Disability
If You Get Denied For Disability Should You appeal Or file A New Claim?
Hiring a Qualified Disability Lawyer in Massachusetts
SSI Disability for Children and Age Appropriate Activities
Social Security Disability SSI - Mental and Physical Residual Functional Capacity
SSD and SSI are Federal Programs
The title II Social Security Disability and title 16 SSI Disability programs operate under federal guidelines and, therefore, the program requirements--medical and non-medical--apply to all states:
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Recent approval and denial statistics for various states can be viewed here:
Social Security Disability, SSI Approval and Denial Statistics by state
Special Section: Disability Lawyers and unnecessary claim denials