Social Security is a valuable program that pays benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last for at least a year or result in death. Federal law places stringent requirements for what qualifies as a “disability;” therefore, it’s extremely important that you present a carefully prepared application.
If you believe you qualify for Social Security benefits, the first step in the process is the make an appointment to file a claim at your local Social Security office. Your initial disability claims interview will take about one hour.
Since it’s important that you receive your benefits as soon as possible, it’s suggested that you apply for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled. The application process is lengthy and can take from three to five months. You will need to complete what is called an Adult Disability Report and you will have to return in to your local Social Security office.
Your application may be processed faster and you can help by gathering all the necessary documentation ahead of time and this includes: your Social Security number, your birth or baptismal certificate, names, addresses and phone numbers of all doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and clinics who took care of you as well as dates of your visits.
You will also need to supply names and dosages of all medicines you take; medical records from doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworks; lab tests and results; a summary of the type of work that you did; a copy of your most recent W-2 form, or if you’re self-employed, your federal tax returns for the past year.
In addition to the above, there will be other forms that you will need to fill out, some of which will give doctors, hospitals and other health care professionals who have treated you permission to send the Social Security Administration information about your medical condition.
As you can imagine, the application process is complicated and rigorous and up to 75% of applications get denied. Because of this, it’s absolutely essential that you carefully prepare and document your case as to present the strongest case possible before the Social Security Administration.