The Social Security Disability Insurance Application Process

Everything you need to know about SSDI applications and how LaPorte Law Firm’s attorneys can help you get the benefits you deserve

What is SSDI?

Managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a federal insurance program designed to provide monthly benefits to people who are unable to work due to a disability.

If you have worked and paid Social Security taxes for 5 out of the last 10 years and are now completely disabled due to illness or injury, you may qualify for SSDI benefits. To do so, you must be able to prove to the SSA that you cannot perform your former job or any other type of work now that you are disabled. In addition, your condition must also be expected to last for at least 12 months.

To calculate your SSDI benefit amount, the SSA uses a formula based on your average lifetime earnings and the total number of years you have worked. If you have a family, you could receive additional benefits of up to 50% of your own monthly benefit amount.

How to apply for SSDI benefits

To start the disability claim process, you will have to file an application with the SSA for disability benefits. This involves completing a Disability Report (Form SSA-3368) and submitting it through the online disability application portal.

To be eligible to apply, you must be a person who:

If you are not sure if you are eligible for SSDI benefits, here is a quick five-point checklist to help you figure out if you are a suitable candidate. Answer the questions below as best as you can.

Answering yes to a majority of these questions means you are likely eligible for SSDI benefits. However, if you are not sure how to answer any of the questions due to the uniqueness of your situation, you can contact us to get your case reviewed by our experienced SSDI attorneys free of charge.

Do I need a lawyer to apply for SSDI benefits?

Although hiring legal representation is not required when applying for SSDI benefits, statistics have shown that hiring a lawyer significantly improves your chances of success. For example, 66% of applicants are rejected by the SSA upon their first application; however, by hiring a lawyer, your odds of getting approved go up by as much as 23%. A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office also found that applicants with legal representation nearly tripled their odds of success at the hearing level.

When it comes to SSDI, making sure things are done correctly from the start is key, as fixing problems at a later stage of the process can be quite complex. The easiest way to ensure you are on the right track from day one is to have a Social Security Disability lawyer by your side who knows the system and can guide you through the entire process, preventing issues from arising later on. With the help of qualified SSDI legal representation, you will have a team of experts who can assist you with all aspects that the claim process may involve, such as:

In addition to increasing your chance of success, a significant benefit of working with an SSDI lawyer is the fact that they work on a contingency basis. This means you will have no upfront costs, as your lawyer only gets paid once your case is won.

LaPorte Law Firm has over 40 years of experience in handling SSDI claims

We have helped thousands of clients get the benefits they deserve, and we can help you too.

To get the disability benefits you deserve, you need an advocate you can trust — someone who works meticulously, leaving no room for error and completing the application process seamlessly. We are that law firm.

Reach out to us and say goodbye to all the complexities and confusion of the SSDI process. Let us make the process of getting your benefits as stress-free and easy as possible.

As your legal representative, we can help you by:

Not sure if you qualify for Social Security Disability benefits?

Take our free SSDI eligibility quiz to find out.

How the SSDI application process works

SSA reviews your file for eligibility (work credits)
If eligible, SSA sends your file to DDS for medical review
DDS requests your medical records
DDS may request a medical examination by a consultative examiner
DDS will have a medical consultant review your file
DDS either approves or denies your claim
SSA reviews your file for eligibility (work credits)
If eligible, SSA sends your file to DDS for medical review
DDS requests your medical records
DDS may request a medical examination by a consultative examiner
DDS will have a medical consultant review your file
DDS either approves or denies your claim
If you decide to apply for SSDI benefits, it should be noted that the application process takes approximately four to six months. When we take on your case, we will meet with you to gather all necessary case information. Next, we will help you with the completion of the SSDI application and submitting it to the SSA. If you are lucky enough to have your case approved, you will likely start receiving your benefits; however, the amount you can expect to receive, including back pay and your monthly benefits, will be detailed in your Notice of Award. Our fee will be deducted automatically from your first retroactive payment, so there will be no out-of-pocket expense from your side.

Tired of going it alone?

Get the assistance you need in three easy steps.

Free consultation call

Book a free 30- to 60-minute consultation call with us so we can assess your situation.

Evaluation by experts

Receive your free case evaluation from our experienced team, who can review your medical history and discuss how Social Security law applies to your situation.

Get started

Begin the onboarding process with LaPorte Law Firm if your case is taken on by the legal team.

The results you deserve

With over 40 years of service, LaPorte Law Firm has won thousands of claims and appeals for our clients.

Terry went above and beyond to get my brother approved for his Social Security benefits — jumping through many hoops in what should have been an easy process that was complicated by the unusual circumstances of the case. He fought through red tape and managed to get a successful outcome. His integrity and work ethic are fantastic!

Debbie Klahr

LaPorte Law Firm is very good at what they do. The application process for a Social Security Disability claim can be a long, complicated, and stressful experience, but LaPorte made the entire process so much easier for me. They’re the best!

Thomas Gardner

Superb representation from Mr. Terry LaPorte. He is professional, brilliant, respectful, and a very kind human being. He is experienced and answers your questions patiently. He explains things in simple terms, making the confusing and complex disability process much easier to understand. His staff, including Maria, are helpful and offer outstanding service. Mr. LaPorte’s law firm is the best.

Reyna R.

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At LaPorte Law Firm, we only receive a fee if you win your case – so you have nothing to lose. We’re with you every step of the way.
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Frequently Asked Questions

While it is true that the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies many of the claims submitted, it is also true that you can win your case the first time you apply. The best way to achieve success the first time is to know exactly what you are doing, or retain a Social Security Disability attorney who does. LaPorte Law Firm has disability lawyers with decades of experience who can fill this role. We handle hundreds of disability claims each year, and most of them are successful the first time we try.
No, SSDI can be seen as a safety net. It will pay monthly benefits to you based on the amount of money that you have already paid into the system through employment taxes.
Your doctor’s support is not required for a disability claim, and you may still be eligible for disability benefits even if your doctor will not support your case.
The hearing is usually attended by you and your legal representative, the Administrative Law Judge, a court reporter, a vocational expert, and occasionally a medical expert. You will be sworn in to testify, and your medical evidence will be presented and documented as a written record in your case file. A medical doctor or expert is also sometimes required to testify at the hearing in addition to other witnesses that may be asked to testify on your behalf to provide evidence of certain medical conditions.
No, a permanent disability is not a requirement. The SSA only requires that your disability last, or be expected to last, for 12 continuous months.
Unfavorable facts refer to information from medical providers that claim that you are not complying with medical recommendations and treatments, or are engaging in acts that may negatively impact your recovery (not taking medication, not attending medical appointments, abusing alcohol or drugs). Any incorrect statements you provide that are viewed as purposely misleading to Social Security are also considered unfavorable facts.

Award-winning service

Equipped with years of experience and thousands of successful cases, LaPorte Law Firm is the leading disability attorney in the Bay Area, and we have the awards and certifications to prove it.

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

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