Social Security Disability Insurance is provided by the Social Security Administration for disabled individuals who can no longer work, or whose illness or disability will eventually result in death. However, in order to claim SSDI benefits, a potential SSDI recipient will need to fill out the Social Security Disability application.

11 Questions About the Social Security Disability Application

  • What forms are needed to apply for Social Security disability?
  • Where can I get a Social Security disability application?
  • How do I fill out Social Security disability forms?
  • How can I undo my Social Security disability application?
  • Where do I send my Social Security disability application?
  • How do I update a Social Security disability application?
  • How long does it take to process a Social Security disability application?
  • How do I submit an online Social Security disability application?
  • How do I fill out the medical conditions on my Social Security disability application?
  • How do I put mental health issues on my Social Security disability application?
  • Is the SSDI application the same as the SSI application?

The SSDI application is meant to screen SSDI benefit applicants and help the SSA determine who needs cash assistance. If you have a condition that has prevented you or will prevent you from working, you should fill out the forms and see if you can obtain SSDI benefits.

What forms are needed to apply for Social Security disability?

The base SSDI application form to apply to collect Social Security Disability (SSDI) is form SSA-16-BK. An SSDI applicant will also need to provide medical information with form SSA-3368, elaborate on their work history with form SSA-3369, and form SSA-827, which is essentially an authorization for the SSA to collect information. 

Keep in mind that in addition to these forms, you may need to provide documentation that proves your identity, such as a birth certificate and/or passport. You may also need to furnish proof of income statements such as W-2 forms from an employer or the form 1040 of your income tax returns. Of course, in filling out the SSDI application you will need identifying information, such as your Social Security Number.

Where can I get a Social Security disability application?

You can fill out the forms at your local Social Security Administration. You can also obtain the forms online, download them, and mail them in. It may be easiest to fill out the SSDI application on the SSA website. Keep in mind that even if you fill out your application online, the approval process for SSDI can still take 3-5 months and you will still have an in-person interview.

How do I fill out Social Security disability forms?

If you are filling out your SSDI application online, you will just need to type your answers into the online application. The Social Security Administration estimates that this process will most likely take 1-2 hours to complete. You can print the forms out, fill them out by hand, and mail them in. 

If you are not able to fill out the forms by hand, you can have someone assist you, or you can type the answers into an editable PDF document. There is a checkbox for indicating that you have received this assistance on your application. If these options are all too difficult, given your personal situation, you may call your local SSA and initiate an application over the phone.

How can I undo my Social Security disability application?

If you change your mind about receiving SSDI benefits for whatever reason, you can withdraw your application. You will need to fill out form SSA-521 and send it or bring it to your local Social Security Office. You can make a withdrawal once during your lifetime, and you can make this withdrawal up to 12 months after SSDI benefits start being issued. 

The SSA will review your request for a withdrawal and let you know if you need to make any benefits that need to be repaid. If you change your mind yet again and wish to reinstate your benefits, you will have just 60 days from receiving this notice to cancel your withdrawal, preferably by calling or going into your local Social Security Administration.

Where do I send my Social Security disability application?

You can mail your forms and application to your local Social Security Administration building. If you’re not sure where that is, you can conduct an online search, look it up on the SSA website, or give them a call. It will also be listed in your phone book under Social Security. If you would like to verify that your forms make it to the local SSA, you can visit the office yourself and obtain a receipt from the clerk on duty. 

Once your application for SSDI benefits has been given to the SSA, a disability examiner will review your application and make a disability determination. If they need any ancillary material to process your disability claim—such as medical evidence like records of medical treatment—the disability examiner will let you know, and let you know where to send that material.

How do I update a Social Security disability application?

Once you are approved for the monthly benefit offered by disability insurance, the SSA will conduct regular reviews of your SSDI benefits, at which point you can notify them of any changes to your situation. If your application is still in process, you can call or go into your local SSA office to discuss submitting those changes. 

You will also have an in-person interview for SSDI benefits, during which you can elaborate on any changes and provide evidence of these changes, such as medical records. The disability determination process may take several months, during which time the exact nature of your needs for a monthly disability benefit may have changed. 

How long does it take to process a Social Security disability application?

It’s best to initiate a Social Security disability claim as soon as possible since the review process can take at least 3-5 months. It may take longer, but the exact amount of time is a case-by-case basis. You can always create a my Social Security account online to track the status of your application. Thankfully, if your application takes longer than five months, you will be issued some SSDI back pay in the form of one lump sum to assist in defraying the cost of your living expenses while you wait for your SSDI Approval Letter. 

How do I submit an online Social Security disability application?

You can submit your application online, mail in your form, or have a disability attorney assist you. The SSA will accept in your application, where it will be reviewed for determining your eligibility for SSDI benefits. 

Please note: Filling out the application online takes time. If you need to take a break for your application, you can simply save it wherever you are in the process and return to it later.

How do I fill out the medical conditions on my Social Security disability application?

You will list your medical conditions on form SSA-3368. This form will ask you to list your medical conditions and provide information about how they have impacted your income, such as whether your ability to work has been reduced or if you are no longer able to work entirely. You will also need to provide information about medicines that you take, the prescribing doctor, and the reason for those medications.

There will be various detailed questions about different medical tests you might have received or procedures you underwent, such as blood tests, MRI or CAT scans, an EKG, or biopsy. You will need to know the dates of these visits, along with information about the organization providing care, such as their name, phone number, address, and even your patient number while at that facility (if applicable).

This form gets very nuanced and detailed, so it’s a good idea to print out the forms or look at PDF versions of them to know what information you need to round up before filling out your form.

The more detailed and complete your form is, the quicker your application will be for the SSA to process. Any missing information will require them to reach out to a hospital, doctor, or healthcare provider to fill in the missing gaps or require them to contact you, either of which can delay the process. 

How do I put mental health issues on my Social Security disability application?

You may have certain questions about your medical eligibility, such as, “Is depression a disability?” You can put down mental health conditions on your application just like any other condition—but just like any other condition, you will need to provide medical evidence and contact information of treatment facilities or doctors. 

The disability determination service has a thorough process for examining every disability insurance claim that comes their way. In cases where a disabled worker is making a case for limited income due to depression, the SSA looks at factors like substantial gainful activity levels throughout your working life, medical evidence, and a checklist of definitions around mental health issues. Do not hesitate to contest the decisions of the SSA if you disagree with it. You can have your case reviewed before an administrative law judge and solicit the help of disability representation. 

Is the SSDI application the same as the SSI application?

No. The SSI application for SSI benefits entails a different process, although some elements are similar. SSI or supplemental security income is funded by tax revenues (though not by Social Security tax). SSI is a program that provides cash assistance benefits for American citizens or residents who have limited financial resources, are legally blind, or over the age of 65. 

Many applicants for SSI are elderly individuals applying for retirement benefits who will fill out form SSA-1-BK. However, receiving SSI benefits does not require a work history, whereas SSDI does. However, just like the SSDI application, applicants may need to furnish documentation that proves their identity, such as a birth certificate and/or passport. 

Understanding the Social Security Disability Application

The application for SSDI seems lengthy and burdensome, but when you receive your SSDI Award Letter, you’ll be happy you filled it out. It’s important to make sure that you have all the necessary information before filling out your SSDI application. This includes not only verifying pieces of information, but also medical records and information about medical providers for filling out the detailed forms that are unique to the SSDI application. Save this information in asafe place, and make copies that you also keep in a safe place, because you may need it when you have your in-person interview, or if the SSA requires follow-up information or documentation around your medical condition and work history.

Please click on the link below to open your desired form. You can then download the form directly to your computer.

SSA-3381 Medical and Job Worksheet—Adult Disability Claim

SSA-16-BK Application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(Social Security wage earner only)

SSA-16-BK-SP Solicitud para beneficios de seguro por incapacidad

SSA-8000-BK Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Application

SSA-827 Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration

SSA-546 Worker’s Compensation/Public Disability Questionnaire

SSA-3368-BK Disability Report – Adult
To be completed by a worker, widow(er), adult child or SSI adult

SSA-3369-BK Work History Report
To be completed by a worker, widow(er), adult child or SSI adult

SSA-3373-BK Function Report – Adult
To be completed by a worker, widow(er), adult child or SSI adult

SSA-3380-BK Function Report – Adult – Third Party Form
To be completed by a third party for a worker, widow(er), adult child or SSI adult

SSA-3033 Employee Work Activity Questionnaire
Employer statement regarding work accommodations and/or subsidy

Physical Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment Form (for physician)

Mental Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) Assessment Form (for physician)

SSA-4814 Medical Report on Adult with Allegation of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection (for physician)