When Is the Right Time to File for Disability Benefits?

How do you know when it's time to file for Social Security Disability benefits? The Social Security Administration encourages individuals to apply for disability benefits as soon as they become disabled. This is because the application process can take months or years from start to finish. Individuals applying for Social Security Disability benefits should fill out the required forms as soon as possible, which can be downloaded from the Social Security Administration website. To ensure faster processing, make sure you supply all requested information and fill out each form in its entirety.

Social Security Disability Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, you must be able to prove that you are disabled according to definitions provided by the Social Security Administration. The medical eligibility requirements are the most time-consuming aspect of filing a disability claim. Individuals with severe impairments must meet requirements of the Social Security Administration's Impairment Listing Manual.

In addition to meeting medical eligibility requirements, in order to receive SSDI individuals must also meet other requirements. The injury or disability must be severe enough that it impairs your ability to function in a work environment and must be expected to last at least one year. The Disability Determination Services (DDS) examine and analyze each claim through a five-step evaluation process.

The Social Security Administration, via the Disability Determination Services, which are state-based agencies, will determine whether you're capable of performing your past job, whether you can perform any type of job, and in what capacity, based on your age, skills, education and current physical or mental limitations.

One of the most important aspects of your claim will be the RFC, or Residual Functional Capacity. This measures your ability to perform activities. For example, a consultant will assess the level of physical exertion you're able to perform and what types of restrictions or limitations are placed on your job performance based on condition. Medical consultants also analyze information from your medical records and doctor's notes regarding physical restrictions and functional ability to determine your residual functional capacity.

If you have any questions about filing for Social Security Disability benefits, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable and qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. Click here to receive a free evaluation of your claim by an attorney who serves your local area.