Filing a Disability Application
by Brad Myler
Fighting your way through the maze of paperwork involved with filing a disability application can be complicated. Government programs are not designed for their ease of use. The process of filing disability forms takes time and persistence.
The first step is knowing whether you’re eligible for Social Security Disability, also called SSDI, or whether you should file for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI. If you’ve worked and paid into Social Security, you may be eligible for SSDI. If you have a low income and are disabled, you may be eligible for SSI. In some cases, you may qualify for both programs.
A disability application can be filled out online or in person at the nearest Social Security office, but you may still need to take certain documents to the nearest office or mail them in. These include an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, a tax return form from the previous year, certified or original forms of military discharge paperwork, if applicable, and information about any previous workman’s compensation claims you filed.
You will also need a medical release form, which allows Social Security access to all your medical records. For SSI, which is based on income, you will also need information about your housing situation, including a copy of your mortgage papers or lease and other information about your financial status and assets. When you fill out forms online or in person, you will need to list your social security number, as well as bank account information for direct deposit (all disability benefits are paid now through direct deposit.)
If all of this paperwork sounds daunting, don’t forget that there are other options. Disability advocates, like us, can assemble and submit this paperwork on your behalf. It’s can be confusing, but we have the application process down to a science.
After completing the necessary paperwork, you’ll need to wait for a letter from the Social Security office about your claim. When you file a disability application, you have around a 60 percent chance of being rejected on the first go-around. While this is daunting, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot collect benefits.
The appeals process allows you to present more information for your case, and for both SSDI and SSI it starts by filling out a Request for Reconsideration and an Appeal for Disability Report form. A review of your case by a person not involved with the first review will follow. Steps after this point include a hearing, and a possible appeals court review and a district court case.
You will need legal representation for a district court case appeal. You may want to obtain legal representation before you reach this level, to guide you through the process and ensure you have the best chance of receiving disability. If you can’t afford a lawyer, don’t worry! At Trajector Disability, we charge no fee unless you win!
For further SSI help or information on SSI back pay, contact Trajector Disability Advocates (formerly Myler Disability).