The Initial Application for SSDI & SSI Benefits
The initial disability application for social security disability insurance (SSDI) and supplemental security income (SSI) can take up to a year for approval, although most initial applications are decided upon within 3 to 6 months.
Most initial applications – about 70% – are denied. Fortunately, if you prepare in advance and/or work with a disability advocate (such as our highly trained team of specialists) your chances for success will improve.
If the initial application is denied, there is the opportunity to continue with an appeals process (for instance, reconsideration and then a hearing) but those steps take even longer. Winning at the initial application level is the fastest way to get benefits and is ideal, so it’s important to do everything you can to win at the start.
The Application Process
To file an application you will have to provide information about your education, medical conditions, treatment for those conditions and work history for the past 15 years. This information is captured on the following forms:
- SSA-16-BK, Application for Disability Insurance Benefits (for SSDI only)
- SSA-8000-BK, Application for Supplemental Security Income (for SSI only)
- SSA-3368-BK, Adult Disability Report
- SSA-827-BK, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration
These forms are used to start the application process.
SSA allows people filing for SSDI to submit their information online. However, if you are applying for SSI, you will need to fill out a form or complete an interview with the SSA.
One of the ways Citizens Disability helps claimants is by handling the entire application process for you. We handle the forms, the filings, and the paperwork – all you have to do is talk to us on the phone and then sign the finished documents.
Later in the process, the SSA will ask you to fill out several more forms related to the qualifying process:
Citizens Disability will be able to help you with these forms as well.
Whether you are applying by yourself or with the help of a disability advocate such as Citizens Disability, you can take the following steps to improve your chances of success with the initial application.
Be sure that you prepare to make the process go smoothly. The more prepared you are, the less time it will take. You can expect questions about the following subjects:
- Citizenship, birth and residency
- Work history for 15 years prior to your disability
- Details of hospitals, clinics and physicians
- Personal information: children, marriage, divorce, etc.
- Financial information: life insurance, bank accounts, stocks, 401Ks, etc.
Be sure to have all information required for the application process available and the process will be far more efficient. You can speak with our experienced advocates before you contact the SSA to make your interview appointment so that you have everything you need and are prepared for success.
Information and Documentation About Your Medical Conditions
You will have to verify your disability with the appropriate documentation and information. For the medical facilities and professionals you have visited during the diagnosis and treatment of your medical conditions, you must have the names, phone numbers and the dates of your visits to each facility and with each doctor. This is required so the SSA can obtain your medical records to determine your eligibility.
You will be required to provide details about the jobs you have held for the past 15 years (it does not matter the position or the type of work – the SSA will need to hear about all the jobs you’ve worked, and it’s important that you be completely honest about your work history). Your employment history will help determine whether you qualify for SSI, SSDI or both. You must provide your job titles, descriptions of the work you did, and the places of employment.
The SSA will also need to learn about your marital and parental situations. If you are married with children, you may qualify for more monthly benefits rather than if you are single and without dependents. They may also determine that you qualify for additional programs based on these circumstances. It will also be required of you to provide information about all of your assets and your financial means. They will want to know everything about the ways in which you receive money. This also includes any other benefits or free services you receive, such as housing and food.
Tips to Maximize Your Chance of SSDI Application Approval
The best way to increase your chances of your application being approved the first time is to speak with specialized disability advocates like Citizens Disability. We have the knowledge and experience to make sure you have everything in place before your interview and the completion of your application. We will also make sure everything is completed as quickly as possible, will help you gather evidence to support your claim, and will follow up with the SSA with great frequency because we understand just how important these disability payments are to your quality of life.
Call us today at 1-800-492-3260 to see if you may qualify for SSDI / SSI benefits!
Other Applying FAQs:
- Can Citizens Disability help with my application?
- Does this process take as long as I’ve heard about?
- Can I receive both Medicare and Social Security disability benefits?
- Do I receive compensation while I wait for my approval?
- If I am denied, should I reapply?
- How long does it take for an initial application to be decided?
- What happens during the reconsideration stage?
- At which stage do I require an advocate?
- Should I give medical updates to the disability authorities throughout the appeals processes?
- Are there any costs to me during the appeals process?