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

Application Requirements For Disability - What Do I Need To Start The Claim?

Any individual who wishes to file for disability, through either the Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income disability programs, must, in order to qualify for benefits, be able to meet the social security administration's definition of disability.

The SSA definition states that a person must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment and this impairment must be severe enough to keep them performing substantial gainful work activity for a period of no less than twelve continuous months.

Either that or their impairment must be expected to keep them from performing substantial gainful work activity for twelve continuous months.

Or, finally, their impairment must be severe enough to end in death.

This is essentially the eligibility criteria that must be proven by an individual's medical records in order for them to be considered eligible for disability benefits.

What does an individual need to start their disability claim? Individuals seeking disability benefits can file an application for Social Security disability online or by contacting their local Social Security office to schedule a disability interview, which can be done either by phone or in person.

Filing online may not be the best option for anyone who wishes to ask questions and have them answered by a live person that they are sitting across from, or speaking to on the phone. Also, currently there is no actual online disability application for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI disability.

Disability applicants who indicate that they wish to file for SSI can provide lead information online but will still have to be contacted by a claims representative at a social security field office before their disability claim can be forwarded to the state disability agency (DDS, or disability determination services) for a medical decision. For this reason alone, it seems to make little sense to try to file a claim online.

Note: SSA has stated that online filing for SSI will be available soon and this may be true by the time you read this.

Additionally, if an individual tries to file their disability claim online, they should make sure that they complete the disability report form online (form SSA-3368), as well as print, sign, and return the medical release form (form SSA-827) to their local Social Security office.

If an individual chooses to file their disability application in person or by phone with Social Security, they should have all of their medical treatment source information, medication, and work history (jobs they have performed in the past fifteen years) ready for their interview.

During the interview, a Social Security claims representative (a CR) will complete their application and disability report form for them. They will also have them sign a medical release form so that once the interview is completed their disability claim will be ready to be sent to the state disability processing agency.

Additionally, the claims representative (CR) will evaluate the disability applicant to determine their eligibility for Social Security and/or Supplemental Security Income disability (in other words, which program they are eligible to receive benefits from).

If the disability applicant meets the non-medical requirements and disability criteria for both disability programs, their disability claim will be taken as a concurrent claim; if not, their disability claim will be taken as a Social Security disability or SSI disability claim only.

But no matter what program an individual is eligible for, their medical disability evaluation is the same. Consequently, if an individual is approved they meet the medical criteria of both disability programs.

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

Related pages:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
Filing an Application for Disability Benefits under SSD or SSI - Step by Step
Tips on how to file for disability
What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?
What happens after I file my disability claim with Social Security?
What happens after a Social Security Disability or SSI Claim has been taken and is Pending
If you get denied on a disability application do you have to file a new application?
How the Decision on a Disability Application or Appeal Under SSDI or SSI is Made

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.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
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