Valuable Tips for Filing Your Social Security Disability Application
If you are no longer able to work due to a diagnosed medical condition or disabling injury, you may qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits in Texas. Anyone who is disabled can apply for SSD benefits, but the application process can be difficult to navigate on your own.
Many people in Texas with valid disability claims receive rejection letters at first. Don’t give up if your application for disability benefits has been denied. Talk with a knowledgeable SSD lawyer at Kraft & Associates, P.C. Our Texas disability lawyers have years of experience and a thorough understanding of the Social Security Disability application process and appeals process. We have seen countless examples of minor errors and incomplete applications that caused valid claims to be denied for technical reasons.
Our attorneys at Kraft & Associates, P.C., help disabled people seek the benefits they need in Dallas, Fort Worth, and throughout North Texas. Our attorneys can help you work through the SSD application process from the start or help you appeal a denied claim. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online to get started with your free consultation.
What You Should Know Before Applying for SSD Benefits
If you plan to apply for SSD benefits, there are certain things you should know before you get started. By preparing yourself before you begin the application process, you may avoid significant frustration.
The following recommendations come from a checklist compiled by the SSA. Gathering the required pieces of information in advance should allow you to have on hand the documents needed to complete your application.
Although the SSA may help you look for missing information during the application process, the process will go more smoothly if you can provide:
- Proof of your date and place of birth, such as an original or certified copy of your birth certificate
- Your Social Security number, Permanent Resident Card, or other proof of citizenship or legal residency in the U.S.
- Names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of your spouse and any minor children
- The name, address, and phone number of another individual who can act as your secondary contact if the SSA is unable to reach you
- Discharge papers (Form DD 214) and details about your military service period, duties, and branch, if you ever served in the U.S. military
- Details about the types and dates of any jobs you worked in the 15 years before you became disabled
- Information about your education and training, including the highest level of education you completed and any special occupational training you received
- Last year’s W-2 Form, if you worked, or a federal income tax return, such as the IRS 1040
- Workers’ compensation information, such as the date of your work injury, your claim number, and proof of benefits payments, if you filed a workers’ comp claim
- The names of any diagnosed illnesses or conditions you have that are currently limiting your ability to maintain gainful employment, as well as the date you became unable to work
- The names, addresses, and contact details for your doctors, therapists, or facilities that have treated or will likely treat your illnesses, injuries, or conditions
- Information from any medical records currently in your possession, including patient ID numbers and dates from any previous medical appointments or tests
- The names, dates, and dosages of any medicines you are currently taking
- Your Medical Assistance Number, if you are enrolled as a beneficiary of Medicaid or a similar healthcare assistance program
- Your checking or savings account number so benefits can be directly deposited into your account in the future.
The more documentation you are able to provide of your disability, the less likely the claim reviewers will be to deny your claim for insufficient proof of eligibility. At Kraft & Associates, P.C., we help disabled people seek the benefits they need. We can help you gather information to support your SSD claim or appeal.
Steps to File an Application for Social Security Disability Benefits
You must have a disabling medical condition and a qualifying work history or be related to someone with qualifying work history to obtain SSD benefits.
If you have questions about whether you are eligible, contact a disability lawyer who can help you evaluate your status. Once you determine you are eligible and have gathered all of your necessary documents, then you can begin your application for SSD benefits:
- Appoint a representative to assist you with your claim, if you want a lawyer to help you complete the forms, gather information, and represent you at hearings or appeals
- Visit or call your local SSA office or call the SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with an SSA representative who can help you complete your application. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can contact the SSA’s toll-free “TTY” number at 1-800-325-0778
- Complete the Disability Benefit Application and the Medical Release Form during your application appointment. An SSA representative, a personal representative, or an attorney can help you fill out these forms using the information you provide
- Attend any medical exams or tests required by the Social Security Administration as part of the eligibility determination process. The SSA will typically take responsibility for scheduling an appointment with a doctor to evaluate you and pay for your medical exam if the SSA needs the evaluation for their decision-making process.
- Wait for the SSA to process your application and notify you of the initial determination in the mail
- File an appeal to ask the SSA for an additional review, if your application is denied.
Can I Apply for SSD Online?
If your mobility is limited or it’s difficult for you to fill out an SSD application in person or over the phone, you can also fill out the forms you need for your application online. By visiting the SSA’s Apply for Benefits page, you can start your application whenever and wherever it is most convenient for you.
To begin an online SSD application:
- Go to the SSA’s online application page, review and agree to the Terms of Service, and then click “Next.”
- Review the “Getting Ready” checklist to ensure you have in hand all the information you will need to complete the application.
- Choose the Start a New Application option and answer the questions that appear about who is completing the application.
- Follow the prompts to either create a new Social Security account or sign in to your existing account.
- Start filling out the online application. You can pause at any time, save your application, and return to it later before you submit it.
The SSA’s online application is especially useful if you are far away from local SSA branches, unable to travel, or outside of the U.S. However, not everyone is eligible to apply online.
You may only use the online SSD application if:
- You are at least 18 years of age.
- You are unable to work due to a medical disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death.
- You are not currently receiving Social Security benefits on the basis of your own work history.
- You have received a denial for another SSD application within the last 60 days.
Tips When Applying for SSD Benefits
Applying for SSD benefits is an involved process. To help you support your claim and avoid frustrating delays and denials, the disability attorneys of Kraft & Associates, P.C., have compiled the following tips based on our many years of experience handling disability claims:
- Study the SSA Blue Book – The SSA’s Disability Evaluation Under Social Security manual, or “Blue Book,” is a formal list of the disabilities recognized by the SSA. If your condition is on the list, you automatically meet the SSA’s disability criteria, and you may be able to avoid considerable paperwork.
- Visit the doctor before you file – If you don’t have any recent medical evidence of your condition, it’s a good idea to visit the doctor before you file an application. The SSA will not be able to approve your claim without recent proof of your disability.
- Include as many details as possible – Submit complete responses to all application questions and provide supporting documentation whenever possible. This will reduce the likelihood that the SSA will delay your claim or deny the claim entirely.
- Hire an experienced SSD lawyer – An attorney can help you through every stage of the application process, help ensure your paperwork is complete and represent you during the appeals process.
- Don’t give up hope – According to the SSA’s reports, only about one in five SSD claims is approved on the first try. If your claim has been denied, you have options for appealing the decision. Our SSD lawyers at Kraft & Associates, P.C., can help you determine the reason for the denial and fix any errors or develop a new strategy.
Contact a Social Security Disability Lawyer in Dallas, TX, Today
If you have questions about how to apply for disability benefits in Texas or need help at any stage of the disability application process, the Dallas social security disability attorneys of Kraft & Associates, P.C., are ready to help. Call us at (214) 999-9999 or contact us online to learn more in a free, confidential case review.