Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Filing for SSD Disability - When Should You put in a Claim?

If you are suffering from a severe physical or mental impairment that has significantly reduced your earnings or your ability to earn a living wage, you should probably file for disability immediately.

The Social Security Administration is currently deluged with disability applications, and thus it usually takes several months to receive a decision on a claim. Add to that the fact that the state disability determination services (DDS) agency, which makes decisions on all initial applications as well as reconsideration appeals for Social Security, rejects most claims, and you are probably looking at a considerable wait between the time you actually file for SSD and the time you will see any financial relief in the form of disability benefits (assuming your claim is successful).

Unfortunately for those who are feeling the effects of their impairment and find themselves unable to perform at work, or perhaps even unemployed, time is of the essence.

Here are some things to consider if you find you must file for SSD or SSI.

1. Do not call the national toll-free number for information about filing your claim. The best source of information about processing a disability application is the claims representative at your local Social Security office. There have been many instances reported in which individuals received inaccurate information from the toll-free number--you do not want any delay in processing your claim due to faulty instructions you have received (and complied with in good faith).

2. You have the option of filing your claim for disability online (for SSD not SSI), but again this probably is not the best option. Instead, call your local Social Security office and speak with a claims representative directly, so that you can ask any questions you may have and perhaps even get the name of someone who can be your “go-to” person should any questions arise in the future.

3. Remember that, should you be unable to travel to your local Social Security office due to transportation or health constraints, you can still have person-to-person contact with a claims representative over the phone. The rep will interview you, answer your questions, and then send you your paperwork by post to sign and return to the office.

4. Most importantly, keep in mind that if you are currently working full or part-time and earning the current substantial gainful activity (SGA) amount, you will not qualify for disability, regardless of the nature or severity of your impairment. The Social Security Administration (SSA) sets the SGA amount annually, and if you earn at least this much each month your claim will result in a technical denial.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Filing for disability tips
Filing for disability, the application
Filing for disability, the process
Filing for disability, how long for a decision?
Social Security Attorneys and Disability Representatives

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria