Applying for Disability

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
You should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible after you become disabled and unable to work.   You do not need to wait 12 months to apply, your disability need only be expected to last for at least one year or will result in death during that year.

If you are getting sick pay from your employer or short term/long term disability from an insurance company you do not have to wait until these payments end before filing a claim for disability benefits.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
You can fill out an application for Social Security Disability benefits at the local Social Security office nearest to your home, online, or by telephone.   Savannah’s SSA local office phone number is 866-294-7410. Brunswick’s SSA office phone number is (866)964-6563.  Waycross’ local SSA office phone number is (877)405-3578.  The address and telephone number of your local Social Security office can be obtained by calling 1-800-772-1213. When applying be prepared to give Social Security a list with the names, addresses and phone numbers of all the doctors, hospitals or clinics who have treated you for your condition.   Also bring a list of where you have worked in the past 15 years.

You will also need to provide Social Security with an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, your last earnings documents (W-2, last pay stub, statement of your employer, etc.) and copies (keep the originals) of any medical records you may be able to obtain.

Please note, however, that you should not delay filing for benefits if all documents are not immediately available.   The sooner you file, the more money you could possibly receive if you are approved for benefits.

WHAT DO I DO IF I AM DENIED BENEFITS?
Appeal!  Many disabled people become disheartened and frustrated after they receive a disability benefits denial notice and do not appeal. This is often a mistake.   Nationally, about 75% of all applicants are denied initially and about 90% are denied at the first appeal stage–Reconsideration.   But many of these people ultimately receive their benefits if they continue through the process by appealing denials to the hearing.  At the hearing level nationally about 70% are successful and win benefits.
What may be most frustrating about applying for Social Security Disability benefits is the process itself.   Those who apply are often made to feel like they are asking for something that they do not deserve, and nothing could be further from the truth.   Social Security Disability is not a welfare program;  these benefits are paid for by you and were intended to act as a financial buffer in case you or a family member became seriously ill or injured.   Therefore if you are unable to work, but you have been denied benefits, you should appeal.

 

CALL FOR FREE DISABILITY CONSULTATION
912-228-5010 Savannah  *  912-490-4369 Waycross  *  912-265-2323 Brunswick