SSDI: How To Apply

Calendar Icon Updated May 17, 2019
Social Security Disability

When it comes to applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), urgency is highly encouraged by the Administration. A payroll-tax funded federal program, SSDI pays disability benefits to those who cannot work because of a medical condition.

Because claims for SSDI benefits can often take 3-5 months to process, it’s highly suggested that those applying do so immediately following the disablement.

There are three ways to apply for SSDI benefits:

  • Apply online here.
  • Apply over the phone at (800) 772-1213.
  • Make an appointment to apply in person at a local Social Security Office. The full list of local bureaus can be seen here.

Gathering information prior to the application process can also help expedite the claim, so making and checking off a list of the following is highly suggested.

Personal information needed to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of age
  • Names and contact information for medical personnel—all doctors, hospitals, caseworks and even clinics who have been a part of your medical journey. Dates of visits are also needed
  • Lab and test results
  • All medical records from doctors, hospitals, clinics, therapists, etc. that are already in your possession.
  • Summary of work history
  • Most recent W-2; copy of federal tax return if self-employed

Family information needed to apply:

  • Social security numbers and age of all family members who might qualify for benefits
  • If a spouse is applying for benefits, proof of marriage

To apply over the phone or in personthe majority of the above will be needed. Additionally, all documents must be original documents or copies that are certified by an issuing office. The Social Security Office will make photocopies and return the original documents.

Place urgency on the application process. Even if paperwork, documents or medical information is not readily available, the Administration suggests going ahead with the application. Social Security will help gather the information needed. Check out the online application for SSDI, which in addition to offering assistance in the assembly of information also includes links to helpful information for the application process.

Remember, even if your initial application is rejected, you have options in the form of an appeal.

Eligibility Team

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