January 25, 2020

Applying for Social Security Disability

In most cases, an individual with MS seeking to file for disability benefits completes his/her initial application by visiting their local Social Security Office or filing the application over the phone (call 800-772-1213).  Today with the benefit of the internet, however, the application may be completed online.  One advantage of completing an online application is that you are afforded an opportunity to stop/pause and save the information while completing the application.  This vital tool provides you the ability to stop the application in the event that you need to take a break or gather additional required information – a benefit not otherwise provided when completing the application at the Social Security Administration’s office or even over the phone.

When you do file over the phone or in person, you may wonder who you are dealing with. At this stage you are speaking with a person at the local Social Security Office (aka the field office) known as a Claims Representative (CR). The CR, who works out of the field office (your local Social Security Office), is charged with making all of the administrative decisions regarding your eligibility for disability.  While reviewing your initial application, The CR will look at your citizenship, work history, and financial status in determining whether you are eligible. After this initial stage, your claim will be sent to a state agency for review of whether you will be considered disabled. For more on the early stages of the disability claims process, please click on the link.

It is not uncommon for individuals to seek the assistance of a Social Security Disability advocate or an attorney specializing in Social Security Disability for help in  completing their initial application. In most cases, however, people call upon the assistance of advocates or attorneys after receiving an initial denial.

Regardless of which means you choose to complete your initial application, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the Social Security Disability application by visiting http://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/ .  This resource will allow you to see what type of information is needed in order to complete your application.  Because the claimant, that individual requesting disability benefits, is not afforded an opportunity to meet face-to-face with the Administrative Law Judge until the appeal hearing, it is important that they tell their ‘story’ as thoroughly as possible while answering the questions posed in the initial application.

One word that cannot be stressed enough is “completeness.”  In order to boost your chances of getting a favorable decision, the information that you provide must be complete.  You should never assume that the disability examiner (DE) will take the initiative to contact you if there are parts of your application that are either missing or vague in your initial application.