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How to Apply for SSDI?

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Step 1: Determine if you meet the basic requirements

Before applying, ensure you meet the basic eligibility criteria:

  • Work Requirement: You must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security, and are no longer able in jobs worked in the past 5 years due to medical conditions. 
  • Medical Condition: You have a medical condition that meets Social Security's definition of disability.
  • Duration: Your medial condition is expected to last at least twelve months or result in death.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Information

Collect the following information and documents:

  • Personal Information: Social Security number, birth certificate, and proof of citizenship or lawful alien status.
  • Medical Records: Detailed medical history, treatments, and test results supporting your disability claim.
  • Medications prescribed: Outline the list of medications taken, the purpose the medication is for and any side effects from taking medication. 
  • Work History: Dates of employment, job descriptions, and job duties completed within the past 5 years.

Step 3: Complete the Application

You can apply online at, by phone, or in person at your local Social Security office:

  • Online: Visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website and choose to apply for disability and "Learn to Apply".
  • Phone: Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to schedule an appointment to apply over the phone or to request a paper application.
  • In Person: Visit your local SSA office and complete the application with the assistance of a representative.

Step 4: Provide Supporting Documentation

Submit all required documents, including medical records and other supporting evidence of your disability.

Step 5: Await Decision

The SSA will review your application and medical evidence. This process can take several months.

Step 6: Appeal if Necessary

If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal. Social Security's rules require appeals to be completed within a certain timeframe, be mindful of dates for filing appeals.  There are multiple levels of appeal after the initial application, including Reconsideration, Hearing by an Administrative Law Judge, Review by the Appeals Council, and Federal Court review.

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be complex, but thorough preparation and attention to detail can improve your chances of a successful application.

As Social Security Disability attorneys, we can assist during any stage including your initial application or an appeal, contact us today for a free consultation. We represent claimants before the Social Security Administration and do not charge anything unless we win your case. Contact us today, (410) 415-3617.