What Documents Do You Need to Apply for Social Security Disability?

What Documents Do You Need to Apply for Social Security Disability Featured Image

If you’re diving into the world of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you might have encountered a maze of paperwork. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! In this blog, we’ll guide you through the documentary requirements for SSDI as well as other important information related to the application process. 

Required Documents for Your Application

When applying for SSDI, submitting documents is crucial to support your claim. These documents provide evidence of your medical condition, work history, and financial status, which are all necessary for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to assess your eligibility. 

Here are some of the documents that you may need to submit when applying for SSDI:

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You may be asked to present your Social Security card or a record of your SSN to confirm your identity. The SSA needs these documents to make sure you are who you say you are and to process your application correctly.

Birth certificate or other proof of birth

Your birth certificate is another important form of identification you need to present to the SSA. It shows when and where you were born (city, state, and country), who your parents are, and other details that verify your identity.

If you file your SSDI application online, make sure your place of birth and SSN match. If they do not, the SSA website will show an error message. And if you submit incorrect information too many times, you will be locked out of the website for 24 hours. It’s best to make sure you enter the correct information to avoid delays in your application.

Proof of US citizenship or lawful alien status

Proof of citizenship includes your passport or, if you are a naturalized US citizen, the original copy of your Certificate of Naturalization.

If you are not a US citizen, you must present your Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Department of State documents, such as a Form I-551 (Permanent Resident Card, or green card). The SSA needs this in order to verify your nine-digit Alien Registration Number (A-Number). If you have a Form I-94 (Admission-Departure Record), present this as well. Make sure to present original copies of these documents.

US military discharge paper/s (for those who served before 1968)

If you are a veteran who served in the US military before 1968, you are required to submit DD Form 214 or equivalent documents. These provide crucial information about a veteran’s service, including dates of enlistment and discharge, military job assignments, and any decorations or awards received. The SSA uses this information to verify a veteran’s military service and may expedite the processing of SSDI claims for veterans with service-connected disabilities.

Additionally, veterans may be eligible for certain benefits or programs based on their military service, and the discharge papers help confirm their eligibility. Therefore, including these papers with an SSDI application ensures that veterans receive the benefits and assistance they deserve for their service-related disabilities.

Work history records

Information about your employment and earnings in the 15 years prior to your application help the SSA understand the impact of your disability on your capacity to carry out job-related duties. The following are some of the work history records you need to prepare for your SSDI application:

  • W-2 form/s and/or self-employment tax returns

  • Year-to-date pay stubs

Note that the SSA accepts photocopies of the above documents.

If you worked after your alleged onset date of disability, you should also submit Form SSA-821 Work Activity Report (or SSA-820 if you’re self-employed). Attach copies of the relevant W-2s and pay stubs to the form. Moreover, if you received any income from unused sick pay, vacation pay, or disability pay, prepare copies of records that verify your receipt of such. Such documents can be crucial in proving that this income isn’t from substantial gainful activity (SGA). This could result in your receiving thousands of dollars in additional past-due benefits.

Complete this form to provide the SSA with detailed information about your medical condition and how it affects your ability to work. This form asks about an applicant’s medical history, treatments received, and any healthcare providers they have seen. The report also gathers information on the applicant’s work history, education, and daily activities to assess their eligibility for disability benefits.

Medical evidence

In your application, you must also submit documents that will help prove your disability to the SSA. These include:

  • List of medical conditions: You should list the main physical and mental conditions that prevent you from working for at least a year. Only list long-term conditions that affect your ability to work.

  • Physicians’ information: Provide the names and contact details of your doctors. The SSA needs this information to request your medical records.

  • Dates of treatment: Mention the exact date of the first, last, and next time you’ll see each doctor.

  • Medications: Submit an updated list of your medications and their dosages.

  • Laboratory and test results: Include any relevant test results, such as MRI or X-ray reports, to support your disability claim.

Keep in mind that you should only provide medical information related to the period of your disability. Providing accurate and relevant information helps streamline the application process and prevents delays.

Award letters, settlement agreements, or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits

The SSA asks about any ongoing workers’ compensation claims for a few reasons. First, important medical evidence from these claims, such agreed medical evaluations (AMEs) or qualified medical evaluations (QMEs), can help evaluate your disability under SSA rules. These exams may not be in your regular medical records. Second, if you get approved for Social Security disability, you need to tell the SSA about any workers’ comp income, including lump sum payments from settlements.

You can get Social Security disability, workers’ comp, and State Disability Insurance (SDI) at the same time, but there are limits. The SSA has a rule that the total amount you get from these sources each month can’t be more than 80% of what you earned in your best year of the past five years. If it is, your Social Security payment might be reduced until it’s at the 80% limit. This is called the 80 percent rule.

This form allows the SSA to request your medical records. Fill out this form and electronically sign it through the SSA’s online portal.

There may be cases where, even if you submit the authorization form, the SSA will still contact you to get your verbal agreement to a medical authorization or send you a form to sign and return. Don’t hesitate to provide the same info twice. Your application can’t move forward without this form. Delays often happen because the SSA didn’t get these forms, so double-check that they have received everything.

In order to process your application, the Social Security Administration requires you to submit information about yourself, your work history, your education, the date you believe you became disabled from work (alleged onset date), the list of impairments preventing you from working, the medications you are taking, and a list of your physicians and their contact information.

First, familiarize yourself with the Social Security website, which contains lots of useful information, including a list of documents you should prepare before submitting your application.

Second, create your own username and password to your My SSA Account prior to your application and review your earnings records and benefits estimator. There are many scams associated with Social Security, including knockoff websites that appear official to the untrained eye, so make sure you are interacting with the official “.gov” website.

  • Personal identification information

This information includes but may not be limited to the following:

    • Your Social Security number (SSN): While keeping your SSN private is a deeply ingrained habit in American life, the Social Security application is one of the few exceptions in which it is necessary to divulge it. This is due to the fact that your SSN is how you are identified on your application. Without it, the SSA does not know whether you are who you say you are.
    • Where you were born (city, state, and country): Your place of birth should match the place that the SSA has on file. If your place of birth and SSN do not match, the Social Security website will show an error message. If incorrect information is submitted too many times, you will be locked out of the SSA website for 24 hours. A best practice throughout this process is to avoid angering the Social Security website.
    • Name and Social Security number of your spouse: The SSA may be able to pay spousal benefits to an eligible spouse, widowed spouse, or divorced spouse. In the application, they will ask for your spouse’s name, SSN, date of birth, and the date and place of your marriage. If you are divorced but your prior marriage lasted longer than 10 years, the SSA will ask for the same information. (For more information regarding spousal benefits, read our blog post on spousal benefit eligibility.)
    • Name of your children: Social Security pays up to 50% additional for each eligible family member under your Social Security record. These are called auxiliary benefits. The total amount you and your family can receive is up to 50% of your monthly disability benefit. After your application is approved, the SSA will mail you a notification requesting that you apply for the auxiliary benefit. During the application appointment, you will be asked to provide your children’s birth certificate and place of residence. (Note: This application for auxiliary benefits is not the same as an application for disability. If you are approved for disability and otherwise meet the rules for family benefits, your application for auxiliary benefits will also be approved.) 
    • Mailing address: Double-check that your mailing address is correct before filing your disability application. The Social Security Administration mails important documents, and you need to ensure that all correspondences are sent to the right place. 
    • Citizenship date: If you’re a naturalized citizen, the SSA requires the exact date you became a citizen. Without the exact date, Social Security will not allow you to proceed to the next step of the online application process. 
    • Proof of residency: If you are a naturalized citizen, be prepared to bring your citizenship documents (passport, naturalization certificate) to the Social Security office. This happens after you complete and submit your online application. The SSA will mail you a letter requesting that you bring the original citizenship documents to your local Social Security office. A Social Security field office employee will make a copy of your original documents and give you the originals. 
    • Pro tp: Keep the receipt showing the date Social Security made copies of your original citizenship documents.


    • Work History

Information about your previous work and your income helps the SSA understand how your disability has affected your ability to perform work-related tasks.


Work status: The Social Security disability application process asks many questions about your current work status and work history, including if you are currently working, and if not, the exact date you stopped working. The SSA asks these questions for a number of important reasons:

      • First, SSA cannot pay disability benefits if you are performing substantial gainful activity (SGA). In the year 2024, work in which you gross over $1,550 per month in income is the performance of substantial gainful activity. For the SGA amounts in previous years, consult Social Security’s SGA chart.

      • Second, in many cases the date you stopped working starts the relevant time period in your case. The SSA will use this date to review the medical record for clues as to why you stopped working, such as a workplace injury or the worsening of a condition that is not work related.

        The work-related questions on the Social Security disability application pertain to step 1 of the disability sequential evaluation (see above five-step sequential evaluation). If you are found to be performing substantial gainful activity, the SSA will send you a step 1 denial — that is, they will automatically deny you disability benefits on the basis that you are working.


Changes in work activity: The SSA asks the following questions regarding changes to your work activity:

      • Did your employer begin accommodating your disability?

      • Did you reduce your hours due to a disability?

      • Did your job functions change?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you should list the date when the change occurred on the application when prompted.

The SSA may be able to pay you retroactively for months in which you earned substantial gainful activity if they deem the work an unsuccessful work attempt. Generally, an unsuccessful work attempt occurs when you attempt to return to work after a significant period of disability, but stop working again due to your disability. The attempt to return to work cannot last for more than six months. If the attempted return to work lasts longer than six months, the more recent work stoppage date should typically be used as the alleged onset date. If you are unsure what your alleged onset date should be on the application, consult a trained Social Security disability lawyer to discuss your timeline of disability.


W-2 forms and year-to-date pay stubs: If you worked after your alleged onset date of disability, you should be prepared to submit Form SSA-821 Work Activity Report (or SSA-820 if you’re self-employed) and attach copies of the relevant W-2s and paystubs to the forms. If you received any income from unused sick pay, vacation pay, or disability pay, be prepared to submit copies to the SSA. Since the test for whether you are performing substantial gainful activity primarily evaluates earned income from work performed, your pay stubs may be used to show that income posted to your record after your alleged onset date reflects unpaid sick pay or vacation pay, not earned income that could disqualify you for disability. A finding that certain income is not substantial gainful activity can result in thousands of additional dollars in past-due benefits.


Job duties of all work performed in the past 15 years: This is called your past relevant work. Social Security asks for this information because they evaluate whether you could hypothetically return to any of the work you performed in the past 15 years given the limitations from your long-term medical impairments. This is step 4 of the sequential evaluation (see the section on the five-step sequential evaluation applied to all disability cases). The burden of proof is on the person applying for disability; they must prove they cannot perform any of their past relevant work.

If this burden is met, the SSA then decides whether there are other jobs in the national economy that you could hypothetically perform. This is step 5 of the sequential evaluation. The burden of proof is on the government at this step of the process. It should be noted that age plays a critical factor here. If you are under the age of 50, Social Security must agree that you cannot perform the easiest full-time job in the national economy. This is viewed as a steep burden of proof. However, after the attainment of age 50, Social Security must begin to consider the transferability of your work skills when considering whether there is other work in the economy you can perform. For some workers, this is a favorable analysis. Heavier-duty jobs offer less transferable skills to light or sedentary jobs. But someone with past relevant sedentary work has transferable skills to other sit-down jobs, which is less favorable on the disability evaluation.

If you had more than one job in the last 15 years, the SSA will send you a Work History Report for more details about your job duties, including the lifting and carrying requirements of the job, how long you had to sit, stand, and walk on the job, whether you managed other employees, etc. If you only had one job in the past 15 years, this information can be submitted on the initial online application. You should provide as much detail as possible in the work history questionnaire. Later, we will discuss how the SSA defines different categories of work and explain how these categories impact the disability analysis.

Pro tip: Avoid overstating the role you performed in your past relevant work. For example, many jobs in this economy utilize certain “fancy” job titles that confuse Social Security adjudicators. For example, some retail clerks are called manager or assistant manager, which connotes a more sedentary role, when the only additional duties required were opening and closing up shop, with no other hiring or managerial responsibilities. Another example is a person who works in building maintenance, repairing damages to commercial offices, who is given the job title of engineer. A Social Security adjudicator may mistakenly believe the engineer job involved coding software while seated at a desk all day. Avoiding “fancy” job titles will avoid unnecessary step 4 denials.

Pro tip: Describe the role you performed for the majority of the course of employment. Do not describe a light-duty job that your employer accommodates after the onset of your illness or injury. A temporary light- duty position (i.e., your employer puts you on short-term flagger duty on a construction site to accommodate your injury) should not be considered as past relevant work by the SSA.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to check the box for “Heavy Lifting” if your job required it, even if you only had to lift heavy objects once or twice per week. The question is whether the job involved ANY heavy lifting, even if this lifting was only occasional.


Authorization for the SSA to obtain payroll data: To determine eligibility and to ensure that Social Security disability does not pay an incorrect amount, the SSA will request that you authorize the collection of your employer payroll history. Sign and submit the SSA-8240 authorization for SSA to obtain payroll data.


Bank account information: On the initial application, the SSA requests bank account information for setting up direct deposits. If the SSA has your account number and wiring information, your monthly Social Security payments can be set up without delay. If the SSA does not have your bank account information for setting up a direct deposit, the Social Security office will reach out to you to request this information. Before providing this information, be sure to read our blog post on Social Security scams to find out the type of information that a person calling from the Social Security Administration will never ask for.

    • Medical Evidence

You will also be required to provide documents that will help prove your disability to the Social Security Administration. These include the following:


List of physical and mental conditions: Prepare a list of the medical impairments that prevent you from working. Your list does not need to be exhaustive. You should only list the primary conditions you think are long term (lasting at least one year) and prevent you from working (impose work restrictions). The SSA has a 12-month rule that requires the disabling condition to last at least a year after you stop working. A short-term condition that has not lasted 12 months or is not expected to last more than 12 months should not be listed. This book will go into the 12-month rule in the next chapter, since the rule impacts the optimal timing of a disability application.)

It should also be noted that the SSA will consider conditions that were not listed on the application (“discovered conditions”), so do not worry if you filed an application but forgot to mention an important medical condition. The SSA will review the relevant treatment records for any condition that is severe, lasts over 12 months, and would impact your ability to work. On the other hand, if alleged impairments are not discovered in your medical record, the SSA will not consider those impairments as disabling.


Physicians’ names and contact information: This is arguably the most important part of a disability application, since medical records are the main form of evidence in a Social Security disability case. While some view the Social Security Administration as omniscient, and so wonder why all of this information must be provided, this is a misconception. Social Security has no idea who your medical providers are unless you specify this information on the application. Because the burden of proving disability is on the person applying for it, it’s in your interest to list all of the locations you have undergone medical treatment.


The first time you went to your physician, the last time you saw that physician, and the next time you will see that physician (if applicable): The SSA requests the first, last, and next time you will see each treating provider. This information is not requested to impose additional work on the applicant; rather, the dates of treatment help facilitate the process of requesting your treatment records. When the SSA requests medical records, they not only need to know where to send the request, but they also need to include the dates of the treatment records requested on the medical request form. Accurate information regarding treatment dates ensures that the medical facility knows what information to provide to the SSA.

Pro tip: Only provide medical information pertaining to the relevant period of your disability. The SSA does not need a list of every physician you have seen since birth. You only need to list all the doctors you have seen for the 1.5 years prior to the application, or since your alleged onset date [the date you tell Social Security your disability began], or your date last insured (DLI), whichever is further in the past. Your alleged onset date tolls the beginning of the relevant time period in your case. Because the SSA does not pay retroactive pay over 12 months prior to the month of your application, and due to the fact that they cannot pay disability benefits for periods in which you are working [even if you are working while technically medically disabled under SSA definitions], the adjudicators will not review remote medical evidence dated prior to the relevant time period in your case.

With advances in electronic medical records, one negative side effect has been a substantial increase in the volume of medical records submitted to the SSA for individuals applying for disability. If a Social Security adjudicator receives 2,000 pages of records, and only 200 of those pages pertain to the period of alleged disability from work, the odds increase that Social Security misses important evidence. Therefore, on your application, you should only provide medical information related to the relevant time period to make it easier on the Social Security Administration to adjudicate your case. You should consult an attorney if you have questions about which physicians to list on your application. A free consultation with an attorney may help avoid some common mistakes at this stage of the application, including listing physicians who treated you prior to your alleged onset date.


List of medications, prescribing physician, and prescribed dosage: You should submit an updated list of your medications and correct dosages prior to submitting your application.

Some aspects of the disability application will lead to duplicative work on your part and on the part of the Social Security Administration. In cases where you are asked the same question twice, err on the side of providing the requested information again. The SSA will ultimately request your medical records and review a list of medications within the records. If they review the list of medications and see a prescription from a provider that is not listed on the application, the claims examiner will reach out to you for a clarification, which can cause delays with the processing of your application. Note again that errors when listing your prescribed medications do not impact the ultimate decision regarding your disability, but incomplete or incorrect information can cause delays.


Laboratory and objective test results: As with listing your medications, be as thorough and complete as possible when listing any medical tests you have undergone since the start date of your disability. This helps the examiner ensure they are not missing critical evidence of disability.

In general, laboratory tests or exams such as MRI, X-ray, or EMG studies, are extremely important in establishing a disabling impairment under SSA rules. This is due to the general idea that these types of tests are objective, while subjective complaints of pain are harder for a medical disability examiner to assess.

As with the medication section, the SSA requests this information to ensure that important evidence is not missed on initial application. For example, if Social Security sees that you underwent an MRI study close in time to your alleged onset date, but the results of the MRI are not included in your medical records that Social Security received, the adjudicator will submit another request for the report of the MRI, since this is critical evidence. Mistakes when listing your laboratory and test results do not factor into the actual disability determination, but they can lead to delays in processing your claim or even an unfavorable result due to missing critical evidence.

    • Authorization to Disclose Information Form


Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA-827): This authorization form is critical since it allows the SSA to request your medical records. Fill out this form and electronically sign it through the SSA’s online portal.

Pro tip: If the SSA calls you and asks you to verbally consent to this medical authorization, or if they mail you a paper copy of the SSA-827 medical authorization to sign and return in an envelope, don’t hesitate to provide duplicative information by consenting over the phone or signing and returning the form. Your application cannot be processed without this critical document.

Pro Tip: You should also make sure the local office has your signed SSA-827 authorizing the SSA to request your medical records, your signed SSA-8240 allowing Social Security to request your earnings information from your employment history, and your citizenship documents (if applicable). Two of the most common reasons for delays are 1) Social Security did not receive your signed application summary or 2) Social Security does not have your signed SSA-827 authorizing the collection of medical records, so make sure that they have received this and other documents relevant to your application.

    • Workers’ Compensation Documents (if applicable)

      • Workers’ compensation and workers’ compensation attorney contact information (if applicable): The SSA requests information about any pending workers’ compensation claims you may have for several reasons.

First, there may be important medical evidence generated from your workers’ compensation case, such as an agreed medical evaluation (AME) or a qualified medical evaluation (QME). Although the regulations pertaining to workers’ compensation cases and the rules pertaining to Social Security cases are not the same, medical records related to a workers’ compensation case are used by the SSA to evaluate disability under SSA rules. These important examinations are often not included in the records from your treating physicians.

Second, if your claim for Social Security disability is approved, you must provide information about any workers’ compensation income you received, including any lump sum payments from your workers’ compensation settlement, typically called a Compromise & Release.

Keep in mind that you can receive Social Security disability, workers’ compensation, and State Disability Insurance (SDI) at the same time in any given month. However, SSA regulations limit the amount of income you can receive from workers’ compensation payments, SDI, and Social Security disability. The rule is that your combined income from these three public benefits programs in any given month cannot exceed 80% of your gross monthly earnings in your highest earning year in the five years prior to the date you stopped working. If your workers’ compensation payments and Social Security disability payment exceed 80% of your average earnings in your highest earning year in the past five years, then your Social Security disability benefit is reduced until the combined total is at the 80% threshold. This is called the 80 percent rule.

You should familiarize yourself with the relevant numbers in your case, including your Social Security disability amount, your IRS reported earnings during the five years before you stopped working, and your monthly workers’ compensation benefit. This reduces the chances of any unwelcome surprises if your Social Security disability case is approved but your benefit is reduced due to the receipt of SDI or workers’ compensation benefits.

Pro tip: If you have a workers’ compensation lawyer, make sure they are aware of your Social Security disability application. They may be able to draft your Compromise & Release using the Hartman formula, which prorates your lump sum award to smaller monthly payments. Even though you will still receive the workers’ compensation lump sum, the SSA recognizes the prorated monthly amount, thus reducing the likelihood of a potential offset under the 80 percent rule discussed above.

      • California State Disability (SD): The SSA requests information about any pending SDI claims you may because, if approved, the SDI benefit may reduce your monthly Social Security disability benefits. However, this reduction stops the month after your SDI benefit is exhausted.

Pro tip: If applicable, you should obtain a copy of your SDI exhaustion notice to submit with your Social Security disability application. The exhaustion notice is the final payment owed to you from your short-term state disability claim. The SSA requires this information in order to process your award if approved due to the 80 percent rule discussed above. The 80 percent rule applies on a month-by-month basis, so if your Social Security disability benefit is reduced due to the receipt of SDI benefits, the reduction stops the month after SDI ends.

By submitting this information with your disability application, you ensure that the SSA has all of the information required to release your retroactive payment and start your ongoing month disability payment. Note that you do not need to exhaust your SDI benefit prior to applying for Social Security disability. You can submit the exhaustion notice to the SSA if your state disability ends while your claim for Social Security disability is pending.

In states like California, SDI lasts for 12 months at most, so your state disability benefit is typically exhausted 12 months after the claim effective date. When the state disability benefit is exhausted after 12 months and there are no funds left to disperse, you will receive a Notice of Exhaustion indicating that this will be the final payment from the state. This exhaustion notice is your proof to the SSA that you are no longer receiving state disability payments. If you did not keep a copy of your SDI exhaustion notice, log in to your SDI account to obtain that information.

  • Proof of Identity and Citizenship

    • Citizenship date: If you’re a naturalized citizen, the SSA requires the exact date you became a citizen. Without the exact date, Social Security will not allow you to proceed to the next step of the online application process.

    • Proof of residency: If you are a naturalized citizen, be prepared to bring your citizenship documents (passport, naturalization certificate) to the Social Security office. This happens after you complete and submit your online application. The SSA will mail you a letter requesting that you bring the original citizenship documents to your local Social Security office. A Social Security field office employee will make a copy of your original documents and give you the originals.

    • Pro tip: Keep the receipt showing the date Social Security made copies of your original citizenship documents.

Additional Information That May Be Required

It’s important to keep in mind that the list above is by no means exhaustive. During your SSDI application process, the Social Security Administration may ask for additional documents to verify your identity and eligibility for SSDI benefits. Some of the other information you may need to provide include the following:

Spouse’s details

If you’re married, the SSA might be able to pay benefits to your spouse. They’ll ask for your spouse’s name, Social Security number, date of birth, and your marriage details. If you’re divorced but were married for over 10 years, they’ll ask for the same info.

Children’s names

Social Security can also pay extra benefits for each eligible family member under your record, including your children. After approval, you’ll be asked to apply for these benefits and provide your children’s birth certificates and addresses.

Mailing address

Make sure to provide the correct mailing address in your SSDI application. The SSA sends important documents there.

To make sure you get the right amount of Social Security disability benefits, the SSA needs your work history. They will ask you to sign and send in a form called SSA-8240, which authorizes them to collect your payroll information from your past employers.

Bank account information

When you apply for Social Security benefits, the SSA asks for your bank details to set up direct deposits. If they have this information, your payments can start right away. If they don’t, they will contact you for it. However, before you provide this information over the phone, email, or SMS, make sure the person contacting you is truly from the SSA. To find out how to spot Social Security scams, you can read our blog post.

Form SSA-3373 (Function Report – Adult)

This form gives the SSA a better picture of how your disability affects your ability to work and carry out everyday activities. Fill in this form with details about your daily life, such as your regular routine, how you take care of yourself, and any difficulties you experience due to your medical condition.

This 10-page form is usually filled out by someone close to the applicant, such as a family member or caregiver. It asks about daily tasks, such chores and personal care, and whether or not the applicant is able to perform them. While this form is not required to be submitted along with your SSDI application, Disability Determination Services (DDS) might ask for it in some cases.

DDS uses this form when they need more details to decide if the applicant can do their previous job or other jobs. This report supplements the information the applicant provided in the Adult Disability Report by covering the applicant’s last five jobs and showing what work skills they have.

Additional Considerations

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can navigate the SSDI application process more effectively and increase your chances of success.

Don't delay because of missing documents

Submitting a thorough and accurate SSDI application helps speed up the process. If your application is missing information or has mistakes, the SSA will need to reach out to you for more details. If they don’t get what they need, your claim might be denied due to lack of evidence. These errors cause delays in getting the benefits you deserve.

Also, there may be times during the application process that the SSA asks you to provide the same information again. In such cases, it’s best to provide the information again to prevent delays in processing your claims.

Getting help with your application

Before starting a disability application, it’s a good idea to schedule a free consultation with a trained Social Security disability lawyer. The disability lawyer will discuss your past relevant work and your disability history, and together, you can come up with a plan for timing the submission of your application for disability. Your attorney will also help you understand your right to appeal an unfavorable decision and what steps to take if your initial application is denied. They can also help you understand the nuances of SSDI application, including wait times, so you can prepare emotionally and financially for the application process. 

Keep proof of submission

You can submit your application for SSDI benefits online or at your local SSA office. It’s good practice to keep receipts of your application as proof of filing. You may need to present these in rare cases that the SSA claims your application was lost or never received.

If you opt to apply online, take a screenshot of the confirmation page and save or print it. This serves as your receipt that you can use to prove the date of submission. On the other hand, if you’re filing in person, make sure to keep a copy of the proof of receipt provided by the SSA. 

Check your mail

After you submit your application, you should check your mail for a copy of your application summary that the SSA will send so you can review mistakes. Sign and return the application summary in the envelope provided. The SSA will not process your application without your signature in black or blue ink on this summary.

If you do not receive the application summary within two weeks of filing your SSDI application, call your local Social Security office to make sure it was received. Also, you should check your online application status on the SSA web portal. Use your reentry number to make sure the application was fully completed.

Ease the burden of SSDI paperwork by partnering with a trusted and reliable SSDI attorney from LaPorte Law Firm. We have the experience and expertise to help you take  the stress out of the application process. Or for more information about the SSDI application and appeals process, download our FREE eBook today.


You can call your local Social Security office to schedule an appointment to go over the disability application forms and other requirements. You can also have a friend or family member help with your application. It’s also a good idea to consult an attorney with specialized training in Social Security’s rules and regulations. An attorney can help you gather all necessary information and consult with you regarding the best timing for your application. 

You will authorize Social Security Administration to request and obtain your medical records via an Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration (SSA-827). Social Security will send your medical authorization along with a request for medical records to the medical providers listed on the application. Therefore, it is critical to provide up-to-date and accurate information regarding your recent medical treatment so that the SSA knows where to go to request your medical records.

The SSA  denies almost two-thirds of the disability applications filed nationally. However, by following the steps in this article, you are putting yourself in the best position to succeed on your application.

The current average national wait time for a decision is seven  months. 

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FREE e-book : The Social Security Disability Application Process.

Navigate the complexities of the Social Security Disability application with ease!

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You are not sure whether you qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits ? Take our free assessment quiz.

Watch a free video presentation by the attorneys at LaPorte Law Firm – How to prepare for a Social Security disability hearing