Our office as, from time to time, helped clients with the initial application for Social Security Disability benefits. On one occasion several years ago, we actually met with a local branch office representative to complete the application. The local branch office Social Security Administration representative was helpful, and we were able to complete the application in about an hour.
More recently, clients in our part of Oregon have the option of applying in person at the Local Branch Office of Social Security. However, budget cuts have reduced office hours, and there is quite a wait to make an appointment to apply for benefits. We have also found that some local branch office representatives are not as helpful as others.
The other option is to apply on line at www.ssa.gov. We recently helped an existing client walk through the application process, and here are a few thoughts on how to get through the online application painlessly.
Before you go online, do a little homework to get some basic information. This will help you get through the application more quickly. Even if you run into a roadblock or you don’t know the answer to a question, you can always “sign off” of the application, and log back in at a later date when you have the information you need. Here is a basic list of the things you should have before you go online to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits:
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number;
- Your spouse’s name, social security, date of birth, and the dates and places of any marriages or divorces.
- Names and dates of birth of minor children.
- Your bank routing transit number and account number (you can find this on a check) note: Social Security now requires direct deposit of benefits, and this is why you need this information.
- A list of your medical doctors and their addresses, as well as the names and addresses of any hospitals where you treated.
- A list and dosage of your medications, and who was prescribing them.
- You should also have a list of any medical tests like x-rays or blood work, the dates of those tests, and who sent you for the tests.
- You should have an idea of the amount of money you earned for the current year and the last year, as well as the names of your employers.
- You should be able to tell Social Security about the jobs you worked in the 15 years prior to the date your claiming your disability began. You should also be able to describe in detail the type of work that you did.
- If you have any old workers’ compensation or other disability type benefits, you should have that available as well. The website gives a long list, which includes Civil Service Disability Retirement, Federal Employee Retirement, Federal Employees’ Compensation, and any military disability benefits.
After you complete all the questions that appear on a screen while going through the initial application, print this screen if you can. This is because your claim will be transferred to a state agency (in Oregon and Washington, this agency is known as “Disability Determination Services”). This agency will ask you a lot of the same questions that you already answered, or a will at least ask you to expand on the information you already provided.
If your claim is denied, you have 60 days from the date of the denial to file an appeal. This can also be done online, and we can help. Call us at 503-325-8600. We will fill out your appeal, helped you complete the disability appeal report, and review your file to find out what we need to get your claim accepted. The best part is that we do not get paid unless we obtain benefits for you.