apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

The application process for disability benefits can be very confusing.  However, this guide can help you navigate the process and be prepared with the information that SSA will ask you. The good news is that there are several different ways in which you can complete your disability application.

First, it is important to know what type of disability you are applying for.  SSDI or SSI?  Please read this article on the differences between the type of disability so that you can determine which pathway you should take.

For both types of disability though, before you start your application, this document from SSA provides helpful information about what you will need to complete your application.  

https://www.ssa.gov/hlp/radr/10/ovw001-checklist.pdf

Also, if you have not already, you should set up your “my Social Security”  account.  This SSA portal is really useful and takes about 10 minutes to set up. You’ll need a smartphone, a form of picture identification, and an email account you can access.  This portal tells you how much you may get per month if your disability application is approved.  Also, once you’ve applied, it will allow you to keep track of where your disability application is in the system.

https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/create.html

How to Apply

SSDISSI only
Online – this is SSA’s preferred methodTo complete your disability application on line, the link below will take you to Social Security’s website where you can do your application. There is also a way to do it through the portal. On the first page of the portal, you’ll see a spot where it says “apply for disability”.

https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/
You can only start an SSI application on line. SSA will then call you to complete it.

https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/start.html
In PersonFind your local office, call and make an appointment*

https://www.ssa.gov/locator/
Find your local office, call and make an appointment*

https://www.ssa.gov/locator/
By TelephoneFind your local office, call and tell them you would like to apply by phone. SSA will set an appointment to call you back to complete the application over the phone.*

https://www.ssa.gov/locator/
Find your local office, call and tell them you would like to apply by phone. SSA will set an appointment to call you back to complete the application over the phone.*

https://www.ssa.gov/locator/

* I currently do not suggest calling the national line at 1-800-772-1213 as the wait times can be several hours and often the people at the national line cannot help you.

** Please note that all of the above web addresses are ssa.gov websites.  Make sure you are sticking to those websites as once you google “social security disability,” you may accidentally get routed to third party sites.

Read more over on our Social Security Disability pages.

Comments are closed