Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go to apply?
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
Technically speaking, you do not actually have to go anywhere to file a social security disability application. If you are unable to visit a social security field office, or just do not feel comfortable going to an office, you can apply for disability by phone or in some cases online.
Applying for disability over the phone
If you wish to do a phone disability application, you should contact your local Social Security office to set up an appointment for a Social Security and/or an SSI disability claim (some individuals will have concurrent claims, meaning claims for both SSD and SSI simultaneously).
In such instances, a claims representative will complete your disability application as well as the necessary disability medical forms. They will mail you a medical release form (form SSA-847) to sign along with a self addressed postage-paid envelop for the return of the medical release form. Sometimes Social Security needs additional proof documents, especially if you are filing for SSI disability benefits. They will generally provide you with a list of documents they need and also provide a postage paid envelope for you to return the documents. Once they have reviewed your documents, they will return them to you.
Applying for disability online
If you wish to apply for your disability online, you can only file for Social Security disability at this time, not SSI. The online disability applications process requires that a claims representative contact you to complete an SSI disability application if you wish to file. In other words, an SSI claim is not considered to be officially taken without the prospective claimant being contacted; whereas an SSD application can be initiated online by the claimant entirely on their own.
However, since a high percentage of disability claims are concurrent (meaning that they involve both Social Security Disability and SSI) and since claimants will have no way of knowing in advance which program or programs will apply to their case, it may simply be more practical to bypass the online filing process and directly contact a local Social Security office.
If you file online, make sure to complete your “disability medical report” online as well. Unfortunately, you will need to print, sign, and mail a medical release form to your local Social Security office in order to complete your disability application.
Currently, the medical release form is one of the few forms that still require a pen and ink signature to be valid. The reason for this is that medical release forms are used to get medical information that is covered by strict privacy laws.
Currently, it is probably better for you to apply for disability by phone or do an in-person disability interview, because it allows Social Security to get all the necessary information at the time of your disability interview.
While you still have to mail in a medical release form if you file by phone, it is still much more convenient than waiting for Social Security to re-contact you for an SSI application and in some cases to get your medical information.
Whether you file online or by phone, it is imperative that you return your signed medical release form within thirty days of filing your disability claim. If Social Security does not receive your medical release form, your disability claim may be denied for failure to cooperate. This means that your disability claim will never be sent to a disability examiner for a medical disability decision (meaning your records will not be gathered and evaluated).
Applying for disability in person
An in person interview at your local Social Security office is the most reliable method to apply for disability with Social Security.
The claims representative can evaluate your eligibility for Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability at the time of your disability interview. They will complete all the necessary disability forms for you and you can sign your medical release form during this interview as well.
This means your disability claim will be ready to be sent to a state disability agency the same day (the agency is known in most states as DDS, or disability determination services) with no waiting on the mail or for a “re-contact” from Social Security to complete the required disability forms.
What Happens When You File an SSI or Social Security Disability Application?
What happens if my SSI or Social Security Disability Application is denied?
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews