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How to Apply For SSD Benefits

Updated: Apr 12

There are 2 different Social Security Disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI benefits) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI benefits). To learn more about the difference between these 2 programs, read our article on SSDI vs. SSI.


Today, we are going to walk through the process of applying for disability.


The first step to getting the help you may need is often the hardest one to take. When it comes to Social Security Disability benefits, you have to include additional difficulties, because dealing with governmental programs can often be consuming.


We are going to break down the different ways to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, which ones we recommend and why, and offer some tips to make the process go a little more smoothly.


There are 3 ways to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits:

  1. You can apply over the phone, by calling the Social Security Administration’s toll free number at 1-800-772-1213.

  2. You can apply online at SSA.GOV

  3. You can call and make an appointment to apply in-person with a representative at a local Social Security office.

Our firm recommends applying online. If you have any computer skills at all, this will by and large be the most straightforward way to apply for benefits. You will need to set up a My Social Security account, which the link above will walk you through.


After that, you will be able to save your application as you go and take breaks as needed. Once you submit your application online, you claim begins processing.


New COVID-19 Restrictions on Appointments


Because of restrictions due to the COVID19 pandemic, the Social Security Administration is not currently scheduling in-person appointments. Due to this restriction, they are receiving a greater influx of applications via phone. So you need to schedule your phone appointment as well.


You can still call that toll-free number above, and they will set you up with a phone appointment to apply.


When you are finished with your appointment, the representative you filed with has to submit your application for you manually, so it takes a little while longer to begin processing.


While some applicants like having someone walk them through the application process, applying over the phone or via a representative in person has to be done in one sitting, and can take time if you are not prepared with appropriate information and documentation.

That being said, our team at Kapor | Davis & Associates have some helpful tips for when you are applying for disability benefits in any of the 3 ways.


How to Help Streamline the Process of Applying for Disability


  1. Gather your recent medical information. This includes:

a. Doctors and specialists you see

b. Hospitalizations

c. Medications you use

d. Approximate dates of service (they don’t have to be exact, just a general idea).

  1. Routing and bank account information for direct deposit if/when your application is granted.

  2. If you are married, or are divorced to someone you had been married to for at least 10 years, you will need their social security number, as well as your own.

  3. If you have children under the age of 18, you will need their names, ages, and social security numbers as well.


This is the information that we often see applicants not having on hand when applying for benefits. These are the things most often missed or not fully worked out at the time of application and can slow down the process.


The Social Security Administration also has a more comprehensive check-list that is attached to the end of this post. It includes more straightforward information and paperwork, that is very important to have on hand when applying.

Need a Disability Benefits Attorney?


Filling out the Social Security Disability Application is the only thing we cannot do for you. Once you file, we can gather your medical records, file appeals, and keep track of all your appointments so you don’t miss anything important. But that first step has to come from you.


If you have any questions about the process of applying for disability, contact us today!


Social Security Disability Check List
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