Where do you begin when applying for Social Security or Disability benefits?
Here's a recent question I came across: "Where do you begin when you are applying for Social Security Disability Benefits?"
There are two ways to answer this question. The first involves filing for disability, or, more specifically, where you file for disability. Regarding that issue, an individual may initiate a claim online by going to the social security administration's own website (this isn't the case for SSI claims--it only counts as a lead and you don't get protective filing benefits). Or they may initiate a claim by contacting their local social security office.
Which method is preferable? As a general rule of thumb, I typically advise claimants to contact their local office for several reasons. One is that, by doing this, a person can ask questions up-front regarding the disability application process and whether or not they may be eligible for disability based on various medical and non-medical factors (non-medical factors typically include income and asset issues). Secondly, as was stated, only social security disability applications can be filed online.
However, there is a third reason which is this: even when disability claims are filed online, a claimant will usually need to communicate with the social security claims rep who is handling their application.
This is typically for the purpose of clarifying information or gathering additional information. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for an individual who wishes to apply for disability to simply initiate the process by speaking with a live person versus attempting to begin a claim over the internet.
The second way to answer this question is to address the issue of what to bring when are applying for social security disability benefits. This will include your birth certificate, your DD214 (proof of military service), if applicable, as well as information about your children and marriage, if applicable. Additionally, since social security will ask each claimant about their medical treatment history and work history, it is always a good idea to write this information down and bring it with you at the time of your social security interview.
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