Apply For Social Security Disability

How to apply for disability, appeal if denied, and check the status of your case

by Tim Moore, Disability Representative in North Carolina

How to apply for your disability

When you apply for disability, your physical or mental condition must be severe enough that it has, or will, prevent substantial work activity for at least a year. The best way to apply is by contacting your local Social Security office. However, always have your work history, medical history, and medication list (you could simply have your bottles with you) available to make the application interview go more smoothly. And doing an interview over the phone is much more productive than trying to apply for disability online by yourself.

The Requirements for Disability

To meet the Requirements for Social Security Disability or SSI benefits, you have to satisfy the Social Security definition of disability, as well as meet several other key requirements. This page discusses work activity, assets, how severe your condition must be to qualify.

Tips for your Disability Claim

Based on my experience as a Disability Examiner and a Disability Representative, here are eight detailed tips to help you apply for disability successfully. These tips are practical and commonsense, but many people will not think of them because applying for disability can be stressful and anxiety-causing.

The Disability Award Letter

If your Social Security Disability or SSI claim has been approved, you will receive a disability award letter by mail. A Social Security award letter will include information about how much you will receive in continuing monthly benefits, how much you will be owed in disability back pay, and when your benefits will begin.

The Disability Decision Process

This page explains and provides a detailed explanation of how the disability process works, and the two ways Social Security has for approving you for Social Security Disability or SSI disability benefits. Knowing how Social Security makes decisions can help you prepare better when you apply for SSD or SSI.

Medical conditions for Disability

What conditions qualify for disability? You can be approved for disability on the basis of any condition, even if the condition is not in the Social Security listings, as long as your medical evidence shows you have enough limitations. When you apply, you need to list every condition you have (not just focus on what you think makes you disabled), even if you haven’t been formally treated for it, such as depression.

Non-medical Disability requirements

Even if you meet the medical requirements for disability, there are still non-medical requirements for disability involving income or assets, that may affect your case. Whether you apply for SSD or SSI, your work earnings will be an issue if you are still trying to work while you apply for disability. But assets, such as money in the bank or extra cars, is a huge issue for SSI eligibility.

Calling about your disability status

You or your disability representative will want to check the status of the claim periodically. Doing this can prevent missing important deadlines and may help your case move faster. Calling can also alert a disability examiner to the fact that you have additional medical evidence to consider and can get them to review your case sooner than they ordinarily might. If you have a representative, let them handle this part.

Social Security Reconsideration Appeals

If you get denied, doing a reconsideration appeal is better than filing a new claim. You have 60 days to do the appeal, but don’t wait a single day. If this appeal is denied, you can request a hearing before a judge which will give you a better chance of winning. If you are represented, that person will file both appeals for you. Learn here how to win your Social Security reconsideration appeal.

Disability Doctors and Exams

What happens at a disability exam, what to say at a disability exam, and the information in your medical records is covered here. Your medical records are the foundation of your case. But how those records are interpreted will make a difference in the outcome of your case, and so will having both older records and recent records.

North Carolina Residents go here: Disability Help in NC

Helpful Pages:

Social Security Disability SSI Questions and Answers
How to apply for disability
Filing for SSI Benefits
When is a Person Considered Fully Disabled by Social Security?
What medical conditions automatically qualify for disability?
Tips for applying for disability
The disability award decision process
How many times can I appeal my Social Security Disability or SSI?
Receiving a disability award letter
The non-medical requirements for disability
Social Security Disability Status
The Social Security Disability Approval
How can you speed up a Social Security Disability case?
Speeding up the Request for a Social Security Hearing
Can you win a disability claim on your first try?
What are the disability requirements for degenerative disc disease?
When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
How do you get disability approved for Asthma?