If you’re considering applying for SSI disability benefits, don’t be intimidated by the determination process. Government processes and paperwork can be complicated, but fortunately for you, applying online is simple. Here's how to apply for social security benefits with their online services.

When Should I Apply?

You should apply for benefits as soon as you become disabled. You cannot receive any back pay benefits before the date of your application, so if you wait, you can lose benefits. Also, the approval process can take several months, so you may not receive a payment until six months after your disability started. Don’t waste any time and apply as soon as possible.

How Do I Fill Out an SSI Application?

You can apply online for disability benefits through the social security website. If you’re not comfortable with applying online, you can always call the Social Security Administration Office at 1-800-772-1213 (or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing) and make an appointment to apply for SSI benefits. You can also have someone else call for you or assist you with your application. After your submit your application, you will usually set up an appointment for a formal interview.

How Do I Prepare for Applying?

There is a lot of information you will need to apply that will be asked of you in the interview. Here is a short list of things you will need to have:

  • Date and place of birth

  • Marriage and divorce information

  • Military Service

  • Employer details for the previous 2 years

  • Self-employment details for the previous 2 years

  • Contact Information

  • Direct Deposit information

You will need the above information to get started on your application. During the interview, you will be asked much more in-depth questions, so be prepared with the information below:

  • How your disability has affected your job history

  • Information about doctors and medical professionals including address, name, phone number, and dates of examinations.

  • Names and dates of medical tests

  • Names of medications you are taking

  • Any special training or education you have received.

The Right to Receive Help From Social Security

Anyone can apply for social security, and there is no charge to apply or use their online services. The Social Security Administration will help you get the documents you need to complete your application and the evidence needed to make a decision. If your application does not have all the information necessary to make a decision, they will pay for medical exams and appointments to see if you are eligible to receive benefits.

If you are interested in legal representation, the Social Security Administration has a list of representatives available that require no up-front out-of-pocket expenses. They may help you with paperwork and attend any appointments, interviews, or hearings with you.

You will receive a written notice of your eligibility and benefit amount. If your disability claim is denied, you have the right to request a reconsideration or appeal the decision.

What Do I Do Once My Application is Submitted?

After your application is submitted, there is not much to do but wait to hear from Social Security. The disability determination process can take several months, depending on the SSI application and any supporting documentation you'll have to provide. You will be able to access your file and see the progress of your disability claim online at any time. If more information is requested, you may have to obtain information or documents, or attend any medical tests or interviews.

How Will My Application be Decided?

Social Security will review your application to make sure you meet the basic requirements. They will decide through your work history if you have worked enough years to qualify for disability and evaluate any current work activities. Doctors and disability specialists will then evaluate your case. They will consider your medical condition, how your condition affects your work, and what treatment you have received. They will decide whether your medical condition is severe, whether you can do the work you’ve previously done, or whether you can do other work.

If I’m Approved, What Will My Benefits Be?

The severity of your disability will not change the amount of your cash benefits. Your monthly payments will be based on your average covered earnings over a period of time, which is referred to as your average indexed monthly earnings (AIME). Your monthly payments and other cash benefits can be reduced if you receive workman’s compensation or public disability benefits. The average benefits are $800-1800 per month.

How Can Trajector Help Me?

Securing disability benefits can be a long and complicated journey, and Trajector is here to help. They help the disabled and at-risk population receive the benefits they are medically, legally, and ethically owed. Trajector can help you with cases about personal injury, disability, mental or physical health, insurance, homelessness, and more. For more information, visit Trajector to see if they’re a good fit for you. We provide additional resources to help SSI recipients find the care and answers they need.