The Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) disability programs offer monthly support to help you cover your bills, living expenses, and medical costs.
Benefits are often available to dependents as well and can keep your family above water even when a serious medical condition stops you from working.
While the disability application process is long, involved, and can be confusing for some, applying for benefits is well worth the effort. If you need help applying for disability benefits, you can get help with your claim from various sources, so you don’t have to go through the process alone. Attorneys, advocates, family members, doctors, and SSA representatives can help you when filing for disability.
Enlist the Help of Friends or Family
Friends or family members can help you get ready to apply and can even help fill out your disability forms. With Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, online application is offered, and someone else can fill out your forms with you or for you.
If a friend or family member applies on your behalf, the SSA will follow up with you to have you sign appropriate documents.
It’s important to note that you can use the SSDI online application to start your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application too. The SSA will accept these online documents and will contact you to finish up your SSI claim.
A friend or family member can help with this too and can even be present during the required SSI phone or in-person interview.
Tap into Social Service Options
Social service workers, disability advocates, and others can help with disability applications in some cases. For example, in many states, family social services staff often assists parents and guardians in applying for SSI benefits on behalf of a disabled child.
Use SSA Resources
Representatives at SSA field offices are available to help you apply for SSI and/or SSDI benefits and establish if you may qualify. You can make an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 or you can stop by your local office.
A friend, family member, or Social Security advocate or attorney can even attend your local office meeting with you, if you feel you need additional assistance.
The SSA also understands that disabled persons aren’t always able to attend their own application meetings. Someone else can apply on your behalf and the SSA will follow up with you to obtain signatures and consents for filing your claim.
Work Closely with Your Doctor
Your doctor is a primary partner in not only your medical care but also your disability application. He or she can review the Blue Book listing with you, help you gather evidence, fill out forms, and submit required records.
The SSA will likely request information and records directly from your doctor too, so be sure to communicate openly with your physician about your disability application and request his or her assistance as needed.
Seek Legal Help with your Claim
A disability lawyer or advocate can assist you throughout your entire claim, from start to finish. He or she can help gather evidence, counsel you on application and documentation strategies, and represent your interests during the review and appeals stages, if necessary.
Even if you have a team of others helping with various steps in the disability review, your lawyer can be your go-to person for understanding SSA processes, disability documentation and eligibility, and denial and appeal procedures.