Social Security provides several ways to file a claim for disability benefits. A claimant may visit a local Social Security office to file a claim in person, call Social Security’s 1-800 line to file a claim by phone, or submit an application online. This is often a difficult process for a disability claimant. There are long wait times at Social Security or there is a problem with submitting the online application. A disability claimant must have detailed information about his or her medical conditions, providers, medications, work history, and functional limitations.
At Martone Law Firm we assist claimants with the initial application in the convenience of our office either in person or by telephone with our experienced legal staff.
In order to apply for disability benefits, the following information is needed: proof of birth, proof of U.S. citizenship status or lawful alien status, W-2 forms or self-employment taxes for the previous year, detailed information about your medical conditions, and work history, medical evidence you have in your possession, and information about any other benefits you receive. You need the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, clinics, therapists, etc. you have seen for your conditions and the dates of your visits, and names and dosages of all your medications. If you don’t have all the information needed, it may cause a delay in completing the application for benefits.
Once a complete application has been received, Social Security determines if the non-medical requirements for disability benefits are met. This may involve checking a claimant’s insured status or whether they meet the threshold income and resource limits. It also includes whether or not all the forms have been properly completed and signed. Social Security may deny a claim for non-medical reasons, which include not signing the release form, not being insured for SSDI, or having too much income or resources to qualify for SSI.
If all information needed to process the claim has been provided, Social Security then refers the claim to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for a medical determination. DDS often sends out numerous forms for the claimant to complete, including work history, work activity, function reports, and other questionnaires specific to a particular medical conditions. Sometimes a claimant will be sent for a consultative examination with one of Social Security’s contract physicians. Once DDS makes a medical determination, the case is returned to Social Security for action on the claim. It generally takes 3 to 6 months for the initial determination, but this can vary depending on the number of claims being processed. If Social Security notifies you that your claim has been denied, you have only 60-days to request review. It is important to know the reason you were denied, since you may be found not disabled based on the medical rules, or for a non-medical decision such as earnings, resources, or lack of insured status.
At Martone Law Firm we assist our clients with filing the initial application, ensuring that all necessary forms are completed, and track the status of the claim for a determination. Contact Martone Law Firm today to find out how we can help you file the initial claim for disability benefits.