A claim is the application that an individual files to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The claim can involve filling out several complex forms, as well as providing proof of a physical or mental disability and inability to work. Disability payments are awarded only to people who claim that they will never be able to work again, have a shortened life expectancy due to a disability or are unable to work for at least twelve months.
Individuals are encouraged to file their claims on the day they become aware of their inability to work due to a new mental or physical impairment. Individuals who are born with a significant challenge to their mental or physical health are also able to file a disability benefits claim if they can prove that they will never be able to find work and support themselves on their own.
The claims process can range from several months to several years and may require formal adjudication by a federal judge or at the very least the intervention of legal counsel. If your claim is denied by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can appeal the denial or re-file an initial claim.
Individuals can also file a claim concurrently for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which differs from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and may be awarded more quickly. Those who choose to file claims should be prepared for long wait times and complex instructions. In addition, they should consider using external help if they are mentally or physically impaired in order to expedite the claims process.