An Overview of Social Security Disability (SSD) Benefits and Application Process


Every year there are millions of people who suffer long-term injuries and some of them might be permanent. This could prevent people from returning to work, leaving many individuals and families wondering how they are going to make ends meet. This is where Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits can be helpful. The point of these benefits is to help you offset some of the financial stress that might arise if you are hurt and unable to work. If you are wondering how you can apply for Social Security Disability benefits, there are a few points to keep in mind.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability?

First, you need to make sure that you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. There is no set rule regarding who is covered by SSD; however, if you have suffered an injury and are unable to work, then you might be covered by Social Security Disability. Some of the most common injuries that are included in the Social Security Disability guidelines are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Bone fractures
  • Severe burn injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Amputations
  • Mental health conditions

If you believe that any of these conditions prevent you from working, then you might be able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The next step is to apply for them.

Applying for Social Security Disability

If you would like to apply for Social Security Disability, then you need to gather the appropriate information. The Social Security Administration (SSA) is going to request proof that you are unable to work. Therefore, you need to have your social security number (SSN) as well as the SSNs of your spouse and children.

You should also gather your W-2 information from last year as well as any discharge papers (if you were in the military). As you go through the Social Security Disability application process, you will have to fill out your demographic information and provide medical evidence that you are unable to work. This includes your medical records, any active prescriptions, your current doctors, and the dates of treatment.

Finally, you will also have you include documentation of any work you have performed during the past five years. Worker’s compensation and insurance claims can help you bolster your case.

Once you have all of the information, you can fill out the application online, over the phone, or in-person at a Social Security Disability office. As you go through this process, you will also be asked to complete the Social Security Adult Disability Report.

After Filing Your Application

Once you have filed your Social Security Disability application, you may be asked to go to another medical exam. This exam is paid for by the SSA. This goal is to evaluate your disability completely to make sure it is covered by the Social Security Disability regulations. You have to show up for this exam. If you do not, they might deny your claim automatically. The findings of this exam will play a role in the success of your application; however, statements from your own doctors will weigh more heavily since they know you better.

What if Your Claim Is Denied?

If your claim is approved, then you should start receiving disability benefits within a month of approval; however, about 70 percent of applications are denied on the first review. Therefore, if your claim is denied, you are not alone and there are other avenues.

You should get a letter telling you why your claim was denied. You have the option to file an appeal to directly refute the reason or denial. In this situation, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who knows the system and can help your claim get approved on appeal.