How do I apply for disability benefits?

I would talk to an attorney before filing, but you can file yourself, too. As soon as you become disabled, and are working erratically or not working, you may apply for disability at any Social Security office. You may also apply by phone. The best way to start is to call 1-800-772-1213. Most people who are comfortable writing answers find that a telephone appointment is the easiest way to file. If you are not comfortable with a lot of writing, set an appointment to apply in person.

The claims process for disability usually takes longer than for other Social Security benefits. So the sooner you apply, the better. Here are some ways to speed up the process. Be sure you have the Social Security number and proof of age for each person who is applying. This includes your spouse and children, if they are also filing for benefits. You’ll need the names, addresses and phone numbers of your doctors, hospitals and other health care providers, plus the dates of treatment. List the names of all medications you are taking. Obtain copies of medical records from your doctors, therapists and caseworkers, as well as lab or test results. You’ll need to give a summary of where you worked in the last 15 years, and what type of job you did. Take a copy of your w-2 form, or your federal tax return, if you’re self-employed. The Social Security office will help you fill out all the necessary forms. They can also help you get the information you need, to process your claim.

If you need help with a disability application and live in North or South Carolina, please call us at 1-800-775-3985 or click here to e-mail us.