How to Apply for Social Security Disability and SSI With Some Tips and Advice To Do It Right

Applying for Social Security Disability and SSI

This page will show you how the SSDI and SSI application works.  In other words, how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.  Many people will tell you to just apply since everyone gets denied at application.  This is not true and a big reason why so many people do lose when they first start a claim for Social Security Disability benefits.  Lawyers will even tell you to start on your own and call them back when you are denied.  If you believe any of this and don't get help from a lawyer or at-least research yourself about how to win your SSD or SSI claim, then you will have no one to blame but yourself for losing your first chance to win benefits.  In my opinion, the application is your second best chance of winning your Social Security Disability claim.  Your best chance is probably at the hearing stage.  Two big reasons why an SSDI or SSI application loses at this stage and then wins at a hearing can be done right from the start. This could have saved you months if not a year or two in waiting for benefits.  The first reason is many people who lost at application will later use a lawyer for their hearing.  There is no good reason not to get a lawyer when you apply if you plan on getting one if you lose, since attorneys get paid based on past due benefits and if you win at application then their fee is probably going to be much less then if they help you win at hearing. The second reason is, the case is usually better developed and has stronger evidence on your side by the time you get to a hearing.  You and/or a good lawyer can both make sure all your beneficial evidence including your treating doctor's opinion evidence like RFCs are in the file when the person at SSA makes a decision on your case.  Most people file and leave it up to SSA to get all the evidence.  Many out on the Internet (who claim they know Social Security Disability law) would have you believe there is a directive at SSA to deny as many cases at application as they can.  The truth is, SSA would much rather approve an application for someone who is disabled under their rules then have to put in more time, effort and money into a case that will be approved later anyway.  If you can't work and you give SSA the evidence needed to be found disabled under their rules they will find you disabled at application.  To do this, you will need a good ssdi lawyer or you will need to research to the point that you know exactly what evidence you need to prove you are disabled under their rules for your particular case and the ability to get that evidence.  I may have gone on a little to long on this issue but I can't tell you how many times people in e-mails ask me questions like the following: "does everyone lose at application?", "the lawyer told me to apply and when I lose to call him back", "someone told me i should just send the paper work in and get the claim started since everyone is denied the first time anyway".  I hope if nothing else you now realize the application is an important part of the process that should be taken seriously and if you can win here it can save you months if not years of time.  


Applying for Social Security Disability benefits requires extensive information about you, your injury or illness, your medical records, and your work history. The more accurate and specific you can be in your application, the greater the chance it will be approved. To know what the SSA wants and how to present it is difficult.  Below is what you will need to give SSA to start your claim. 

  • Medical history: The Social Security Administration will want the names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of service for all the doctors, hospitals, and clinics you’ve seen for your injury or illness.  They will send for these records but don't count on them to do it.  Make it your responsibility to get everything in.   
  • Work history: Your application must include a complete work history that describes all the kinds of jobs you’ve held over the past fifteen years. The examiners will want to know if your injury or illness prevents you from doing the type of work you’ve previously done.  It would be a good idea to write down all your old work before meeting with SSA or filling out papers. 
  • Personal/educational history: Your age at the onset of the disability and your level of education may both have a bearing on whether you will be considered disabled. The Social Security Administration recognizes that people who are older and have less education have more difficulty with retraining and finding new employment.  This does not mean that younger higher educated individuals can't win, it is just more difficult.  They will also want to know if you have had any vocational schooling.

You can apply for SSDI in person at a Social Security office, by telephone, mail, or over the Internet. SSI can only be applied for at the Social Security office. Because of the large amount of paper work it is sometimes easier to use a lawyer or make an appointment at the local office.  It takes at least three to five months before you are notified of whether or not you were approved for Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.  Get stared soon because the amount of benefits you can get can be affected by when you start.

For more information on how to apply for Social Security Disability or SSI or to get your claim started.  You can visit the Social Security Disability web site.  This is the SSA website.

If you live in New Jersey and would like to see the addresses of the Local Social Security Offices click on the following link:  Applying for Social Security Disability in New Jersey.

To view my Law Firm website click Social Security Disability Lawyer


Social Security Disability Application Tips and Advice

Here are some tips when applying for Social Security Disability.

1.  When applying for SSDI or SSI, list ALL of your medical conditions, not just the one that is the worst.  SSA will look at all of your conditions together and how they affect you.  A medical condition you leave out might limit you from work in a manner that you did not think of.

2.  Try and submit with your SSDI or SSI application as much medical evidence as you can.  That includes hospital records, doctor's reports, treatment notes and RFCs.  This will insure that you give yourself the best chance at winning at this level.  If you are denied at application, it will take a few months more before another decision is made.  If you are in an area that no longer has the reconsideration level then you wait for another decision will probably take over a year.

3. Fill out the SSI or Social Security Disability application and all other forms completely.  If you don't Social Security will keep trying to get the information anyway and this will delay your claim.

4. If you have a lawyer, have him or her review your SSI or SSDI application.  If you don't have an attorney then make sure you read this site and understand what you are trying to prove.

5. When filling out the forms about your prior work, don't inflate your credentials to make it seem like you were a great worker.  Be honest about your past work and how you performed it. But don't inflate your work record as if it were a resume you could actually hurt your case. 

6. If, after you submit your Social Security application, Social Security asks you for information or certain paper work respond to them promptly.  If you don't this could delay your claim or worse they could deny you based on you not getting them the information.  Try and have everything with you when you go to interview.

7. One form SSA will send you and gives you 10 days to fill out is called the Function Report SSA- 3733.  This form is used to get information from you about how you are limited in day to day functioning.  This is perhaps the most important and most used form that Social Security will use to determine if you are disabled.  All the forms are important in your application, but I felt this particular report required an explanation page to help guide you to understand the questions and the type of answers SSA is looking for.  Will filling out this form perfectly mean you will win your application?  Well, no but if it is not filled out correctly it could end up hurting your chances of winning your claim when you apply and perhaps in the later stages as well.  Follow the link above in this paragraph and it will explain the function report in detail, which will include what certain questions mean and what types of answers SSA is looking for. I hope you find this addition to my application information helpful.

I give you this piece of advice, I strongly recommend you learn as much about the process and how they determine if you will get benefits before you start.  Read my site and look at the administrations site to become as knowledgeable as you can.  This will help you with every aspect of your pursuit of benefits and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome.


 We have attempted to provide up to date and accurate information, however the information in this site is not guaranteed.  No attorney client realtionship exist.  The information in this site is not a substitute for consultation with a quilified attorney.
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If you don't know how to apply for Social Security Disability benefits or need help with your application for SSD or SSI feel free to call me at 1-877-527-5529.