What Internet Accessibility Tools Could I use to Apply for Benefits?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers a number of online accessibility tools that can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the Social Security field office. If you have mental and/or physical limitations that make it difficult to get around, communicate, or interact with others, these online tools can make the disability application process more expedient and less difficult process for you.

Disability Starter Kits

Whether you’re planning to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or both, you’ll want to learn about the process first, including the kinds of information the SSA will needs for making a decision on your claim.

The Disability Starter Kit lets you know the basics, including the details you’ll need to collect for filling out your application. The kit additionally contains the Medical and Job Worksheet, which you’ll use throughout the application process as your “cheat sheet.”

What online resources are available for me to apply?

Online Application Portal

If you’re applying for SSDI benefits, you can fill out all the necessary forms via the SSA’s online portal. You can save your application and complete various portions of it at your own pace as well.

For SSI benefits, you’ll need to speak or meet with an SSA representative to finalize your claim. However, the online application you submit for SSDI can be used to commence the SSI application process too.

The Online Forms Library

The SSA may request additional information from you or others, including your doctor, a caregiver, or a friend or family member you designate as someone who knows about your disability-related challenges. These requests for information arrive in the mail but you can also access and fill out many forms online. The SSA’s forms library includes documents related to the application and appeals processes as well as forms for managing different aspects of your benefits, after you’re approved for disability.

Accessibility for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Others

If you are applying for disability for vision loss, there are many resources available. The SSA offers a plug-in called BrowseAloud at no cost to all internet users. This program makes all SSA internet resources available to the blind, visually impaired, and to anyone else who struggles to read on a computer screen.

Closed Captioning, Transcripts, and Other Audio-visual Resources

In addition to online forms and informational pages, the SSA offers many audio-visual resources, like videos and webinars on topics related to disability benefits. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or struggle to comprehend information without reading it yourself, the SSA’s accessibility resources include closed captioning options. Transcripts of videos and webinars can be downloaded too.

Getting Help with a Disability Application

Applying for benefits can be challenging, even without the limitations disability imposes. With your physical and/or mental limitations, you may find you need additional help, and the SSA’s online accessibility options can make things easier for you. You may also wish to employ the assistance of a disability attorney or advocate in understanding the SSA’s processes, gathering documentation and evidence, and in requesting a reconsideration or filing an appeal, if your application is initially denied.