Where To Start When Applying For Disability Benefits

Submitted by Elizabeth on

You may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) through the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) if you’ve worked in the past but can no longer do so because of a disability. Said benefits could help you cover the cost of your basic needs.

Don’t worry if you’re not sure where to begin when applying for SSDI. The following overview explains the basic steps in the process. Additionally, you could hire an expert to guide you through each step.

Step 1: Determine If You Can Medically Qualify

The SSA offers disability benefits to individuals who struggle with various medical conditions. The first step in determining if you qualify for benefits involves determining if your condition meets the SSA’s criteria.

Consult the SSA’s Blue Book to start. This resource describes the various conditions that could qualify someone for benefits. Entries in the Blue Book also typically describe the types of medical evidence you might need to submit with your claim to demonstrate your eligibility.

Step 2: Determine If You Have Enough Work Credits

Qualifying for SSDI doesn’t merely involve showing you have a medical condition that prevents you from working. It also involves showing you were able to work in the past, and that you’ve accrued sufficient work credits over the years.

An individual earns work credits by working and paying into Social Security. The SSA’s guide on this topic can help you better determine if you’ve earned enough credits to qualify for disability benefits.

Step 3: Speak With An Attorney

Be aware that you don’t have to navigate the process of applying for SSDI alone. It may be wise to enlist the help of an attorney when seeking benefits.

Ways a disability lawyer could potentially help you include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Evaluating your case to determine if you are eligible for SSDI
  • Completing and submitting paperwork on your behalf
  • Gathering medical evidence
  • Representing you during hearings
  • If necessary, assisting you with an appeal

It’s certainly possible to hire a lawyer at virtually any point in the process of applying for SSDI. However, in most cases, the sooner you begin working with an attorney, the better.

Step 4: Gather Medical Evidence

You may need to provide a significant amount of medical evidence to show the SSA that you meet the criteria to qualify for disability benefits. The specific types of evidence you might have to supply can vary depending on the nature of your condition. However, medical evidence generally consists of test results, statements from your doctor, etc.

It’s best to err on the side of excess right now. You’re better off gathering more evidence than you need instead of gathering too little evidence.

Get Help With Your Claim

Again, you don’t have to gather medical evidence or correspond with the SSA yourself. While you focus on your health, a disability lawyer could focus on helping you submit the strongest claim possible. Take the Free Case Evaluation on this page right now to connect with a disability attorney and learn more about how they may assist you today—all at zero cost to you.