What will I need to apply for Social Security disability benefits?

The claims process for disability benefits is generally longer than for other types of Social Security benefits, from 60 to 90 days. It takes longer to obtain medical information and to assess the nature of the disability in terms of your ability to work. However, you can help shorten the process by bringing certain documents with you when you apply and by helping the S.S.A. get any other medical evidence you need to show you are disabled. Helpful documents include the following:

•your Social Security number;
•your birth certificate or other evidence of your date of birth;
•your military discharge papers, if you were in the military service;
•your spouse`s birth certificate and Social Security number if he or she is applying for benefits;
•your children`s birth certificates and Social Security numbers if they are applying for benefits;
•your checking or savings account information, so your benefits can be directly deposited;
•names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and institutions that treated you and dates of treatment;
•names of all medications you are taking;
•medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers;
•laboratory and test results;
•a summary of where you worked in the past 15 years and the kind of work you did;
•a copy of your W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement), or if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year; and
•dates of prior marriages if your spouse is applying.
The documents presented as evidence must be either originals or copies certified by the issuing agency. The S.S.A. will not accept uncertified or notarized photocopies as evidence since they cannot verify their authenticity. Do not delay filing for benefits just because you do not have all of the information you need. The Social Security office will be glad to help you. If you are applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits you also need the following:
•information about the home where you live, such as your mortgage or your lease and landlord`s name;
•payroll slips, bankbooks, insurance policies, car registration, burial fund records, and other information about your income and the things you own.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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