How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

How Do I Apply For Disability - What Is The First Step?

If you have not been working or have had to drastically reduce the hours that you are working due to some mental or physical impairment, you should consider filing for disability. Social Security offers two disability programs for people who have been out unable to work for at least twelve months or are expected to be unable to work for twelve continuous months.

Do you apply for SSD or SSI?

Social Security Disability is based upon the work that you performed prior to becoming disabled (work earns disability insured status) and Supplemental Security Income disability is based upon need (meaning you must meet SSI income and resource limits).

You apply for both disability programs simultaneously. If you meet the non-disability requirements for both SSI and SSDI, your disability claim will be sent as a concurrent claim. If you meet the non-disability criteria of just one of the programs, your disability claim will be sent as one type or the other. So how do you apply for disability?

The first step in applying for disability benefits is to contact the Social Security Administration. This can be done online, of course, and this is the method promoted by SSA. However, it is not the most efficient means of getting a claim initiated for many individuals. For one thing, the online process tends to put applicants in the position of providing the same information repetitively. And it does not offer an opportunity to ask and receive answers to questions. However, what makes the online process less efficient than claimed is the fact that many applicants will still need to speak with a field office claims representative to resolve basic questions.

For these reasons, it will usually make more sense to contact Social Security to speak to a live individual who can assist with the application process. And this can be best be accomplished by calling a local office and setting an appointment to be seen.

The first step of the actual disability claim process is the initial disability interview. As stated, you can complete the interview in person, or by phone, with a claims representative at your local Social Security office, though there is also an application process for Social Security Disability online.

One benefit of speaking with a live individual

One clear benefit of speaking with a Social Security claims representative is that if you file with a claims representative, your application and disability report form (the form used to gather medical and work information) is completed while they interview you. All you have to do it sign your medical release forms, or sign and return your medical release forms to your local office if you complete your interview by phone.

Once you file your application with Social Security, your disability claim will be sent to a state disability agency (disability determination services, known as DDS) that is responsible for making the medical determinations for both SSI and Social Security Disability.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

Related pages:

How do I File and Apply for Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits?
How Do I Find Out How My Disability Appeal Is Going?
How Do I Apply For Disability - What Is The First Step?
Will I Qualify For SSI and How Do I Get Approved?
How do I file for my children and spouse if I am Receiving SSDI?
Social Security Hearing- How do I Request one, how long will it take?
How do I apply for a Social Security Disability widow’s claim?
How do I win disability benefits in North Carolina?
How Do I Know If I Qualify For Disability in North Carolina?
If I get disability for a physical condition, can I receive more if I also have a mental condition?

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

Filing for disability benefits, SSD and SSI
Can you get temporary Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?

Permanent Social Security Disability

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

Who is eligible for SSI disability?

Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?

What makes a person eligible to receive disability benefits?

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?

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.