How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

When you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, it’s important that you have the right information presented the right way, or you may hurt your chances of being approved for benefits. If you’re disabled, the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fields Law Firm are here to help you prepare your application.

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Social Security Disability Insurance, or “SSDI”, benefits are available for insured workers, their disabled surviving spouses, and children (disabled before age 22) of disabled, retired or deceased workers. The term “insured” means that a workers has worked recently enough, and long enough, to have paid enough Social Security taxes to be eligible for SSDI benefits.

An application for Social Security Disability for SSDI benefits can be completed online through Social Security’s website, however it is important to have an attorney review your application to ensure you have the right information on your SSD application.

The following information is needed for this SSA Disability Application:

  • Military Service discharge information for all periods of active duty.
  • W-2 Form (or your IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE if self-employed) from last year.
  • Social Security Number(s) for your spouse and minor children.
  • Checking or savings account number and bank routing number, if you want Direct Deposit for your benefit checks.

After the Social Security Disability Application is complete, you will be immediately transitioned to an online Disability Report – Adult, which requires the following additional information:

  • Name, address and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your claim.
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
  • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them.
  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them.
  • Types of jobs and dates you worked for your last 5 jobs.
  • Information about any insurance or Workers’ Compensation claims you filed, such as claim number and name, address and phone number of insurance company.
  • Citizenship documentation.

Applications for disability benefits require basic background information including your full name, date and place of birth, if you are entitled to a pension or annuity, and a description of your illness, injuries, or conditions that limit your ability to work.

With an Application for Disability Benefits, Social Security requires the people also file two reports: (1) a Disability Report – Adult; and (2) a Work History Report. These reports request a lot of detailed information, and it is a good idea to have that information readily available before completing the reports.

The Disability Report – Adult requests specific information on how claimants’ disabilities affect them, information about their previous work, education information, the names and addresses of doctors and hospitals where the claimants have treated, the names of medications claimants are using, and the types and dates of medical tests that the claimants have undergone.

The Work History Report requests an itemization of the jobs claimants have had in the 15 years before they became disabled and specific information of the work activities for each.

Finally, Social Security requires that signed Medical Authorizations be filed with an Application for Disability Benefits so that claimants’ medical records can be obtained.

Once the Application for Disability Benefits is filed and the Disability Report – Adult, Work History Report, and medical authorizations have been submitted, Social Security sends the file to a state agency to evaluate it. It currently takes on average six to nine months or longer before a decision is made.

During this process, the state agency will request medical records, and statements from people who know the applicant. Sometimes the state agency needs additional information about the person’s disabilities. If that is the case, it will arrange an examination, which Social Security will pay for.

The state agency will make the decision about whether a person is disabled. The state agency communicates this to the Social Security office, which will notify you in writing of the decision.

Applying for disability benefits is not always successful. If your application is denied, you can appeal within 60 days of the date of the denial letter. The first appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration. The second appeal is called a Request for Hearing. Those are the two most prevalent appeals after applying for Social Security Disability.

Social Security Disability claimants can check the status of their Application for Disability Benefits online. The claimant’s Social Security Number and Confirmation Number (given at the time the Disability Application is submitted) are required.

If a favorable decision has been made on the Disability Application, it means that the claimant will be awarded disability benefits. If the claimant receives a denial notice, it can be appealed. Appeals must be filed within 60 days from the date of the denial notice. If an appeal is not filed within 60 days it is possible that a new application will need to be filed.

After applying for Social Security Disability benefits, the disability examiner assigned to evaluate your case will request your medical records from the doctors, clinics, and hospitals where you have said that you have treated for your conditions. You must sign an authorization so that the Social Security Administration can request your records. This authorization will be provided to you by Social Security.

Medical records are vital to properly document your conditions so that Social Security can determine if you are disabled under their rules. This medical documentation can include treatment records, diagnostic exams such as X-ray and MRI reports, and medications you are taking for your conditions.

After completing an Application for Social Security Disability Benefits, you must complete a form entitled “Disability Report – Adult.” This form requests information on the doctors with whom and the hospitals where you have been treated for any of the conditions you are claiming make you disabled, the medications you take, and any medical tests you have received.


You must provide the following information regarding your doctors:

  • Name of each doctor you have treated with;
  • Name of the doctor office or clinic where you have treated;
  • Dates you have treated including first date, most recent date, and next scheduled appointment;
  • The conditions for which you have received treatment from this doctor; and
  • The treatment this doctor gave you.

Hospitals or Other Clinics

In addition, the Disability Report will ask if you have treated at any hospital or place other than a doctor’s office. If so, you must specify the name and address of the hospital, the type of stay (emergency room, inpatient, or outpatient), the dates you treated there, the conditions for which you have treated, and the type of treatment you received.


The Disability Report asks for the following information of each medication you are taking:

  • Name of medication;
  • What condition the medication is for;
  • What doctor prescribed the medication; and
  • Any side effects you experience as a result of taking the medication.

Medical Tests

Finally, the Disability Report will ask for the following information on any tests you have received:

  • Type of test (MRI, EMG, X-Ray, etc.);
  • Where the test was done;
  • Which doctor ordered the test; and
  • Date of the test.

Knowing in advance the information you will need to provide can help gather this information in advance so that when you are asked to provide it, you will have it ready.

If you need help completing your application, our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys are available to answer your questions.

Knowing in advance the information you will need to provide can help ensure you gather this information in advance so that when you are asked to provide it, you will have it ready.

If you need help completing your application, our experienced Social Security Disability attorneys are available to answer your questions.