You can complete SSDI and SSI applications by phone, online, or using your local Social Security office. However, attempting to file online has disadvantages, so it’s best to do it in person.
If you do it in person, you need to bring a photo ID. If you don’t bring one, you will have to go through an identification process in which a claims representative asks you personal questions.
Aside from bringing your ID, you should bring your birth certificate. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your medical conditions, medical treatment sources, medications, any testing that you’ve had, and your work history. These topics relate to how to Social Security Administration makes approvals on disability claims.
When providing your medical treatment history, be sure to include all sources of treatment back to the time your disability began. You should also include every current source. Do this because Social Security will need it to determine whether or not you are currently disabled and also what your date of onset is. This is critical to determining how much back pay you are eligible to receive.
Providing full names and addresses of treatment sources is just as important. Doing so will assure that the disability examiner who processes your case will not have any difficulty obtaining the needed medical records. In the majority of cases, the largest processing delay deals with obtaining medical records to complete an application.
When providing your work history, you should include your entire work history for the 15-year period prior to becoming disabled. This information should include job titles and detailed descriptions of your job duties. Social Security uses this information to properly evaluate your ability to perform any of your past work activity and the chance you have at doing other types of jobs.
If your claim involved SSI, you will need to provide information about your income and income resources. SSI is a need-based disability program and it is subject to income and resource limits. During the disability interview, a claims representative will ask you questions about your bank accounts, vehicles, insurance policies, land, and other resources that could be converted into cash.
The claims representative uses the information you provide to complete your disability report form SSA 3368. This form has your medical source contact information along with your treatment dates, along with medication and testing. You will then sign a medical release form that gives Social Security access to your medical records.
Once all necessary forms have been completed, your disability claim file is transferred to a state disability agency (DDS, or disability determination services) for a medical disability decision.