How to Apply

January 1, 2011

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

An application for disability benefits can be started with a telephone call to Social Security (1-800-772-1213) or a click of a mouse. (http://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability). If you call, Social Security sets you up with an appointment, either at a local office or by telephone. If you apply online, you complete the initial forms over the Internet, but some material will still need to be sent in.

A Warning About Completing Social Security Forms

Many of Social Security’s forms have “yes” or “no” check boxes. However, the answers are often more complicated than yes or no. Consider a simple question: “Can you work? Yes [ ] No [ ]." What do you say if the answer is: “sometimes, on my good days, but not when my pain flares up and I have to lie down”?

First suggestion: Apply by telephone. Ask them to send you the forms. Take plenty of time to answer each question completely. If you are comfortable online, apply online. Be sure you keep the “reentry” numbers they give you so you can return to the forms if you don’t finish them the first time – which you probably won’t.

Second suggestion: When they ask you about dates of medical treatment, do not worry about getting them exact. The medical records will have the exact date. It is more important that you list all the doctors who have treated you.

A better suggestion: There is much more to know, particularly in the area of tips to improve your application for Social Security disability benefits. An experienced disability lawyer like me can help you submit the strongest application possible. To contact me, click here then submit the form to your right.

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