How to Apply for Social Security Disability

Applying for SSDI is a complicated and time-consuming task. We’re here to help simplify the process and help you get the benefits you may be entitled to.

To Qualify for SSDI One Must:

  • Have an illness, injury, or medical condition that prohibits you from working for at least 12 months or is expected to result in death
  • Live in the United States or a territory/commonwealth
  • Have paid payroll taxes while working
  • Have worked at least 5 of the past 10 years, if over the age of 31
  • Have worked at least half of the years between 21 and current age, if between the ages of 24 and 31
  • Have worked at least 1.5 years of the past 3 years, if between the ages of 18 and 24
  • Have become disabled before reaching retirement (65 to 67 years old)

How Do I Apply for SSDI?

  1. Apply as soon as you are unable to continue working. Initial Social Security Administration (SSA) decisions on your disability application take 3-5 months.
  2. Fill out an application for Social Security Benefits as well as the Disability Report.
  3. Be sure to include complete names, addresses, and phone numbers for doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics.
  4. Provide comprehensive medical information such as: prescriptions, medical records, lab results, test results, and medical appointment dates.
  5. Prove your employment record by including a written summary of your work history as well as W-2 Forms.
  6. Self-employed workers must provide tax returns.
  7. Double check to confirm that you have completed every required form.
  8. File the application online or at your local SSA office.

What Happens After I Apply?

  • SSA will review your application for completeness and verify the basic requirements (age, Social Security number, work history).
  • If you pass the first step, the application is sent to your state’s Disability Determination Services (DDS) office.
  • DDS’s state office will contact your doctors to investigate the severity of your medical condition, treatment, and ability to work.
  • DDS may require that you visit one of their doctors for an exam, in which case DDS will pay for the exam as well as some of the associated travel cost.
  • Your state agency will decide whether to grant or deny social security disability benefits.

If your claim is denied, Sokolove Law might be able to assist you with the appeal process. Complete the form on this page or call us for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

Why Sokolove Law?

For more than 45 years, we’ve helped people get the legal support they need regardless of race or income. We offer free no-obligation legal consultations and don’t receive any fees until you receive monthly cash payments from the Social Security Administration. We review claims 24 hours per day and assist clients in all 50 states.

Why hire a Social Security Disability Attorney?

Disability insurance claim paperwork can be complex and frustrating – additional stresses that can further complicate your health. We simplify the SSDI appeals and hearing processes by taking the burden off of you and fighting for your rights.



Sokolove Law Team

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The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: May 24, 2024