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

How to Apply for Disability - Where do I go to apply?

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 envelope 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, though SSA has announced this option is coming. 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.

Additional information:

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

Related pages:

How to apply for disability and where to apply
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
What Conditions Qualify For Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability qualifications

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
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