Getting Started On Your Social Security Disability Claim

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be a bit overwhelming, so here are a few tips to make the process easier. 

First, realize that this is a Federal benefit, but State agencies make the initial decision, and will review your first appeal.  Whether you are in Washington, Oregon, or any state, the process is essentially the same.

Here are the steps you may take when applying for the financial support you need to live comfortably.

Applying at Your Local Branch Office

The first step is to submit your application. You can apply in person at your Local Branch Office.  To determine your Local Branch Office location, check out the Local Branch Office locator tool, and search for the Local Branch Office locator function.  You can then contact the Local Branch office, and set up a time for an intake appointment.  Local Branch offices have limited operating hours, so you may be in for a wait. 

Applying On Line

Another option is to apply online.  Go to the application page, and first be sure to read the checklist of items and information you will need to complete the application. 

You will be given a "re-entry" number, so if you get stuck and have to log out, you can come back and complete the application.  Essentially, you will need the following:

Your Work History:  You should be ready to tell Social Security the where, what and how.  That is, where you worked, when you worked there, and how you did your job.  Social Security wants to know the physical and the mental demands of your work.  How much did you lift?  How much did you walk?  What kind of training did you require?

Your Medical History:  Have a list of your doctors, hospitals, and the contact information for each.  If you treated with several doctors, but in one clinic, use the clinic information.  It will save you time.  , and your medical treatment.  You may be also asked to provide information on your dependents, marital status, and any current work activity.  Also, be ready to give a list of all your medications, their dosages, who prescribes them, and what conditions they treat.

Other Information: Social Security will also want to know a lot about you, including the basics.  You will get questions about your marital history and your kids.

Following Up With the Decision Makers

Once your application is processed, you will hear from your state's Disability Determination Service (DDS).  This office will obtain medical records, have you complete questionnaires, and may even have you see a doctor for an examination.  Fill out and return the forms, and be accurate with your answers.  Make your examinations, and give good effort.  look over your answers on your application, they will decide if your claim is accepted or rejected.

Keep copies of what you fill out!  Social Security loves to ask you for the same information, over and over.  So, you will save a lot of time if you keep copies of what you have filled out.

Appealing Your Denial

If you have been denied, you must appeal your denial within 60 days of the date of the denial letter.  Just like with your application, you can file your appeal on line.  Contact us if you have questions about how this all works.


Joe Di Bartolomeo
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