How to Apply for Disability

How to Apply for Disability – Overview

The Social Security Administration provides disability benefits to eligible individuals. You can apply for disability benefits online, allowing you to submit your application without the need to visit a local office in person.

When to Apply

You can apply for this program as soon as you become disabled.

  • SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) has a mandatory waiting period of five months. The benefit payments start in the sixth month after the date your disability began, regardless of how quickly you apply.
  • Individuals with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) approved for SSDI after July 23, 2020, are exempt from the waiting period and can receive benefits immediately upon approval.
  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits are typically paid starting the month after your application is filed or when you become eligible for SSI, whichever is later.

How to Apply

How to Apply for Disability

How to Apply for Disability – 3 ways

There are three different methods that you can follow to apply for the disability program.

Apply Online

  • This starter kit contains basic information about Social Security Law. It also includes more information about the types of benefits available for individuals with disabilities.
  • This kit will give you an idea of what you can expect from the application method and how to process your application efficiently. It also contains a checklist of all the documents you need during the application process.
  • The primary goal of your documents must be to prove your disabilities to SSA and receive approval. The more documentation you can add, the better the probability of receiving the approval.
  • You need basic information, including the names of your doctors, their contact details, caseworkers, clinics, or hospitals where you receive your treatments. You may also need the dates of all these visits. You must submit all copies of your medical record, laboratory tests, and test results.
  • You should prepare a list of all your medications, including your age, dosage, and schedule.
  • If you have any, submit all the documents relating to your work experience. Mention your work type and most recent tax return document as proof of your income.
  • The online application form will ask different questions about your disability, work history, medical treatment, and work history. You will have to answer various questions about your family members as well.
  • If you need help filling out your application, you can get help from the links given to answer the questions appropriately.
  • Do not send original documents unless specifically requested by the SSA. Instead, submit copies of the required documents via mail, as the SSA generally does not require originals and will not be responsible for returning them.
  • You can find the address of your local SSA office at Type your ZIP code there and find the nearest SSA office.
  • Include your social security number when mailing the documents. You must match the documents with your application. You can send the documents via certified mail with a returned receipt request.
  • All you need to do is wait for their response. SSA will call you for further documentation or to schedule a personal interview. In some cases, you may have to complete a medical examination.
  • They will send your application to your State’s agency. Medical and vocational experts will review it to see if you meet the necessary disability criteria. If you meet all their criteria, they will move forward with your application.

Apply Over the Phone

  • Download the starter kit to read and understand all the required details.
  • Gather all the required documents and organize them properly.
  • Call their toll-free number 1-800-772-1213 to apply over the phone.
  • If you have any hearing impairments, you can call their TTY line at 1-800-325-0778
  • Their representative will ask if you want to apply in person. If not, they will ask you questions similar to those on the online application form.
  • Keep all your documents organized and handy. They may ask several questions about your disability, medical history, and work history.
  • You need to mail all your original documents to them. They will make copies and return your original documents.
  • You can always find the details about your nearby SSA office at
  • Once the State’s agency reviews your application, they will call you to inform you of the status of your application.

Apply in Person

  • You can find the contact details and the location of your nearby SSA office at
  • Call them to book an appointment.
  • Download the disability starter kit and read it thoroughly before attending your appointment to understand the entire process better.
  • Gather all the required documents and organize them.
  • Complete the medical and job worksheets. The worksheet contains questions about all your medical conditions and medical history.
  • The worksheet also contains questions regarding your work history.
  • Go to your nearby Social Security office. Carry all your original documents and your worksheet with you. An SSA representative will make copies of your file and return the original documents.
  • The representative will ask you several questions about yourself, your family, your work, and your disability.
  • If you don’t have sufficient documentation or information to answer the questions, they will help you to find the required information.
  • After the interview, you have to wait for a response. It can take three to five months to get a response from them.
  • After the interview, they will send your documents to the State agency. There, vocational experts and doctors will examine your application.
  • They can contact your medical health providers for additional information.
  • If required, you may have to go through an additional medical examination.
  • They will proceed with your application if you fit their criteria.


There are three general methods of applying for the SSA disability program. Choose your convenient method and complete the application process.

Submit all the required documents to support your claim. If you meet all their criteria, they will proceed with your application.

See Also

Signs That You Will Be Approved for Disability

What is Social Health Insurance

DHHS Program

Medicaid for Disabled

VA Disability Rates

What is Considered Disability

Current Version
November 20, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 16, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

Follow us