Overview of Disability
Disability Back Pay
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
SSD SSI Definitions
SSDRC authored by
SSDRC Disability Blog
What is the Process to be Approved for SSD or SSI Disability Benefits?
The social security disability process is a multi-level one. It starts with the claimant contacting the social security administration. This can take the form of the claimant initiating their disability claim through the SSA website, calling the SSA toll free line, or by contacting their local social security office.
The recommended method is really to contact your nearest social security office. Why? Because the staffers at the toll free line are somewhat famous for dispensing incorrect information and the online process developed by the social security administration has flaws, such as the fact that while a bonafide social security disability claim can be started online, an SSI claim cannot.
The website may give the appearance that an SSI claim is being filed, but in actuality the online process does not offer protective filing dates for SSI claims. And this is important because it gives the claimant a starting point for the payment of back pay.
Additionally, contacting the local social security office makes a lot of sense since A) many claimants will have questions that the teleclaims center and the website will not be able to answer and B) in most cases when a claim is started via the teleclaims center or the website, the social security office will still need to contact the claimant to resolve an issue or gather information.
And, after all, since the case will be assigned to a CR (claims representative) at the social security office, it makes perfect sense to speak with this individual from the very beginning.
Contacting the social security administration is the first step. What happens next is that social security will set up an appointment time for a disability application interview.
At this interview, the claimant will be asked to provide identification information (such as a birth certificate) and information regarding workman's compensation and prior military service (if these things are applicable). However, these are simply non-medical requirement issues. The most important information that the claimant will need to provide at the disability application interview will be:
1) Information regarding the claimant's work history.
2) Information regarding the claimant's medical treatment history.
With regard to the claimant's work history, the claimant will not need to provide a listing of every job they have ever done, but, instead, will need to provde a listing of every job they have done in the last 15 years prior to becoming disabled. This list will only include jobs that the claimant performed long enough to learn (therefore, any job that the claimant left before completing the training period would not need to be included.
With regard to the medical treatment history, the claimant should provide a list of all their medical treatment sources. This would include all their doctors and hospitals. It should also include where the facility is located, what type of treatment was provided there, what was diagnosed, and when the claimant was last seen at a particular hospital or doctor's office.
Is it important for the claimant to list all older and current medical treatment sources? Yes, and this is because when the social security administration evaluates medical evidence, they are looking to determine two different things:
A) Is the claimant currently disabled? Meaning in the here and now. Only current medical records can establish this.
B) How far back does the disability go? Only older medical records can establish the disability onset date.
And this, of course, underscores the importance of providing Social Security with all known treatment sources since this will make it more likely for the earliest possible onset date to be established (which impacts how much back pay may be owed), as well as establishing whether or not an individual is presently disabled.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
How does social security decide your disability claim?
Social Security Disability is different from VA disability
Is Chronic Fatigue considered a disability by Social Security?
SSDI Request for Reconsideration
Tips for Social Security Disability Psychological and mental testing
Working and getting Disability
Contacting Social Security about the status of your disability claim
How to qualify for disability with depression
Determining Social Security Disability and SSI eligibility
What Forms Do You Use to File For Social Security Disability?
Disability attorneys and RFC forms
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