How do you file for Social Security Disability?
Social Security Disability Insurance is a program run by the Federal government to protect people if they lose the ability to earn because of becoming completely disabled. So how do you file for Social Security Disability?
Qualifications to file for Social Security Disability
To file for Social Security Disability, you need to be qualified for the program. Here are the qualification criteria:
- You need to be completely disabled as defined by the Social Security Administration. This means you cannot perform any Substantial Gainful Activity.
- The second condition for eligibility is that you should have worked for at least 5 years in the 10 years before the beginning of your disability, during which time you paid your Social Security Taxes. Depending on your age, the number of years you should have worked to qualify will vary, however, as a general rule, you need at least 5 years of taxed working to be eligible for Social Security Disability.
- You will also need to prove that your disability is expected to last at least 12 months, or that it is expected to be a terminal disability.
Protective Filing Date
It is very important that you let the Social Security Administration know of your intent to file for Social Security Disability as soon as you find out that you have a long term or terminal disability. This is because the day you let the Social Security Administration know that you are disabled is known as your protective filing date, and this is the date that is used to determine when your disability benefits will commence. This intent to claim can be earlier than the actual application date.
Another advantage to letting the SSA know your intent to file is that if you get better before filing for disability, then there is no loss incurred. However, you could lose out on a lot of back pay if you wait for your disability to be confirmed.
How to File for Social Security Disability?
You can file for Social Security Disability
- Online at the SSA Apply for Disability page
- Call the SSA toll-free number 1-800-772-1213. You can even take an appointment with the representative to have your application be taken over the phone.
- If you have hearing problems or completely deaf, you can use the SSA TTY number 1-800-325-0778, between 7am and 7pm every weekday (Monday to Friday).
- You can schedule an appointment with a phone representative to visit the nearest SSA office where an SSA Officer can help you with your application.
- If you are helping someone else file for Social Security Disability, then please do read the SSA’s Third Party Disability Application
Claims for Disability take a lot of time. The average processing time for a disability claim is about 3 to 5 months, but there are a lot of times when the process has gone on for years.
So start early and be patient.