The Disability Application Process
Whether you apply online, by phone, or in person, the disability benefits application process follows these general steps:
- You gather the information and documents you need to apply. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
- You complete and submit your application.
- We review your application to make sure you meet some for disability benefits.
- We check whether you worked enough years to qualify.
- We evaluate any current work activities.
- We process your application and forward your case to the Disability Determination Services office in your state.
- This State agency makes the disability determination decision.
To learn more about who decides if you are disabled, read our publication .
Once You’ve Applied
Once we receive your application, well review it and contact you if we have questions. We might request additional documents from you before we can proceed
Look For Our Response
Youll receive a letter in the mail with our decision. If you included information about other family members when you applied, well let you know if they may be able to receive benefits on your record.
Check The Status
You can check the status of your application online using your personal mySocial Security account. If you are unable to check your status online, you can call us 1-800-772-1213 from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Appeal A Decision
What You Need To Do To Get A Replacement Social Security Card
The process for obtaining a new card varies slightly depending on the reason for your request. If your name has changed, for instance, then the process will be a little different than if you lost your card. If you need to replace a lost or stolen Social Security card with no other changes, that is the most straightforward process. Here are the general steps you will need to follow, and we will call out the differences in details where applicable.
Calculate The Best Time To Start Social Security
If you are confused about when to start, you can use the Social Security Explorer part of the NewRetirement Retirement Planner to compare your monthly income and maximum lifetime payout at different ages.
Or, you might consider the following rules of thumb:
- Take Early: The only people who should consider taking their Social Security early are those who absolutely need the money immediately, or those who do not expect to live for very long, due to illness
- Take at Full Retirement Age: Should you have reason to believe that you will not live past the age of 80, then generally speaking you will maximize your social security benefits if you take them when you reach your Full Retirement Age.
- Wait as Long as Possible: On the other hand, if you are confident that you will live past the age of 80 or 85, then most experts recommend that you defer your social security for as long as you can , so as to maximize the benefits you receive from it.
- Other: If you have dependent children, the additional benefits you receive for them might make filing when you are younger worthwhile.
It can also be a very good idea to have an overall retirement plan before you decide when to start your Social Security benefits. The NewRetirement Retirement Planner can help you assess all of your sources of retirement income and whether or not you will have enough to cover your expenses. This tool was recently named a best retirement calculator by the American Association of Individual Investors .
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How To Apply For Social Security Disability With Bipolar Disorder
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Bipolar disorder causes severe mood swings that can make learning, working, or other aspects of daily life difficult to perform. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration offers financial benefits to help alleviate these struggles.
These benefits, called Social Security Disability benefits, are available to those who meet certain requirements and successfully complete the application. An adult or child living with Bipolar disorder can benefit from understanding the entire disability process in order to gain the financial support deserved.
How Long Does It Take To Replace A Social Security Card
If you can request your replacement online, then you should receive your new card within a couple of weeks. However, if you complete your request in person, then you can expect a longer wait time. It will generally take about 30 days to receive your new card in that case. Make sure that you have all your documents in order, like your U.S. birth certificate, before starting your request to help move things along as quickly as possible.
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There Is One Exception
There is one special case where a person wont qualify for disability backpay: Someone just diagnosed with ALS. The reason is they automatically qualify for SSDI within a 30-day period after filing their application. Since theres no five-month waiting period for those applicants and the SSA expedites their claim reviews, they likely cannot receive any SSDI backpay.
Documents You May Need To Provide
We may ask you to provide documents to show that you are eligible, such as:
- Birth certificate or other proof of birth
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States
- U.S. military discharge paper if you had military service before 1968
- W-2 forms and/or self-employment tax returns for last year
- An Adult Disability Report that collects more details about your illnesses, injuries or conditions, and your work history
- Medical evidence already in your possession. This includes medical records, doctors’ reports, and recent test results and
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements or other proof of any temporary or permanent workers’ compensation-type benefits you received .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
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Get Started Applying For Survivors Benefits
If you are already receiving disability benefits, the SSA will automatically change them to survivors benefits after they receive notification of the workers death. If you had not been receiving disability benefits already, you need to apply for survivors benefits. The sooner you apply for survivors benefits, the better, as they may not be retroactive.
To start the application for survivors benefits, you can contact the SSA by phone or find your local SSA office. You cannot apply for survivors benefits, or report a death to the SSA, online. Be sure to notify the SSA of the workers death as soon as possible. Usually, the funeral home making the arrangements for the worker will notify the SSA for you if you provide them with the workers social security number.
When you have an application appointment with the SSA, be sure to bring the following documents that apply to your specific circumstances:
- Proof of death
- Proof of adoption
How Do You Apply For Social Security Survivors Benefits
If you are unable to work due to a medical condition or disability, the Social Security Administration can provide disability benefits. These benefits can help you pay medical bills and every day living expenses without making a regular income. If you are financially dependent on a worker who has died, you may be able to receive survivors benefits from the SSA to help with the costs and expenses you are left to handle.
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Special Rules For People Who Are Blind Or Have Low Vision
We consider you to be legally blind under Social Security rules if your vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye or if your visual field is 20 degrees or less, even with a corrective lens. Many people who meet the legal definition of blindness still have some sight and may be able to read large print and get around without a cane or a guide dog.
If you do not meet the legal definition of blindness, you may still qualify for disability benefits if your vision problems alone or combined with other health problems prevent you from working.
There are a number of special rules for people who are blind that recognize the severe impact of blindness on a person’s ability to work. For example, the monthly earnings limit for people who are blind is generally higher than the limit that applies to non-blind disabled workers.
In 2021, the monthly earnings limit is $2,190.
Adults Disabled Before Age 22
An adult who has a disability that began before age 22 may be eligible for benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. We consider this a “child’s” benefit because it is paid on a parent’s Social Security earnings record.
The disabled “adult child” including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the definition of disability for adults.
It is not necessary that the disabled “adult child” ever worked. Benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.
- A disabled “adult child” must not have substantial earnings. The amount of earnings we consider “substantial” increases each year. In 2021, this means working and earning more than $1,310 a month.
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Benefits For Disabled Widows Or Widowers
If something happens to a worker, benefits may be payable to their widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse with a disability if the following conditions are met:
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse is between ages 50 and 60.
- The widow, widower, or surviving divorced spouse has a medical condition that meets the definition of disability for adults and the disability started before or within seven years of the worker’s death.
Widows, widowers, and surviving divorced spouses cannot apply online for survivors benefits. However, if they want to apply for these benefits, they should contact Social Security immediately at 1-800-772-1213 to request an appointment
To speed up the application process, complete an Adult Disability Report and have it available at the time of your appointment.
We use the same definition of disability for widows and widowers as we do for workers.
Who Is Eligible For Ssi
Anyone may apply for SSI. The SSI program provides monthly payments to people who:
- Are at least age 65 or blind or disabled.
- Have limited income .
- Have limited resources .
- Are U.S. citizens, nationals of the U.S., or some noncitizens.
- Reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. Exception: The children of military parent assigned to permanent duty outside the U.S. and certain students temporarily abroad may receive SSI payments outside the U.S.
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Information About Family Members
- Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits and
- Proof of marriage, if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages, if applicable.
If you don’t have all the documents you need, don’t delay filing for benefits. We will help you get the information you need.
Which Doctors’ Records Do I Need
You need to provide medical records only from the doctors who have treated you for your disabling condition. If you have multiple disabilities, you will need to provide the SSA with medical records from all of the different doctors who have treated you.
Make sure that you don’t provide the SSA with irrelevant medical records. For example, if your claim is based solely on mental illness, you do not need to provide records from your allergist, eye doctor, or any other physicians who are unfamiliar with your mental condition.
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Information You Need To Apply
Before applying, be ready to provide information about yourself, your medical condition, and your work. We recommend you print and review the . It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application.
Information About You
- Your date and place of birth and Social Security number.
- The name, Social Security number, and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriage and dates of divorce or death .
- Names and dates of birth of children not yet 18 years of age.
- Your bank or other and the account number.
Information About Your Medical Condition
- Name, address, and phone number of someone we can contact who knows about your medical conditions and can help with your application.
- Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries, or conditions:
- Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers, and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics.
- Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them.
- Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who ordered them.
Information About Your Work:
- Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreements, or other .
We accept photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns, or medical documents, but we must see the original of most other documents, such as your birth certificate.
Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. We will help you get them.
How To Get Paid To Take Care Of A Family Member With A Disability
If you have a loved one applying for disability benefits, even though you cannot get paid directly from the SSA, you can get paid as a caregiver to take care for a loved one with a disability.
There are many government programs that allow family members of people with disabilities to get paid for caring for them.
One program is called Medicaid Self-Directed Care. Medicaid Self-Directed Care is a program that lets qualified people manage their own health services. The program also lets them hire family members as caregivers in some states.
There are 12 states that pay family caregivers. Those states are Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
If you live in one of those states, you should check to see how to get paid by the state for taking care of someone. Those states pay any relatives, including spouses, parents of minor children, and other legally responsible relatives to take care of a family member with a disability.
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Eligibility For Survivors Benefits
If you are the widow or widower of the deceased, you may be eligible for survivors benefits under a variety of different circumstances. You can receive full benefits, for instance, when you reach your full survivor retirement age. This is between 65 and 67, depending on your birth year.
At 60, you can receive partial survivors benefits, and at 50, you can receive full benefits if you are disabled, and have been for at least seven years before the workers death.
You can receive full benefits at any age if you care for the workers children, who must be under 16 or disabled themselves. Also note that if you remarry after age 60, or 50 if you are disabled, the marriage will not affect your eligibility for survivors benefits from your deceased spouse.
If you divorced the worker before their death, you are still eligible for survivors benefits under the same rules as a widow or widower, as long as you were married to the worker for ten years or more.
For a workers child to qualify for survivors benefits, they must be unmarried and under 18 years old, or 19 if in secondary school. If the child became disabled before age 22 and is still disabled, they are eligible for benefits no matter what their age. Stepchildren, adopted children, and grandchildren may also be eligible for survivors benefits if they meet certain criteria.
What We Do To Win Your Case
When you deal with Osterhout Berger Disability Law, you will be collaborating with a team of attorneys who are devoted to exerting all effort necessary to win your claim or appeal. Well begin by keeping you well-informed throughout the procedure. We understand how difficult it may be to stay informed about everything that is occurring in your case, which is why you engage skilled legal assistance to offer you all of the information and counsel you need regarding the information you get as it comes in. Additionally, we may interact by a variety of other modes of communication, including text, phone calls, letters, and emails. We understand that everyone has preferences, and we can suit your documentation and convenience requirements.
Additionally, we intend to properly describe the procedure. It might be challenging to comprehend all of the legal processes, but we are here to ensure that you are never left in the dark.
Additionally, our attorneys will assist you in building your case. We never want you to feel as though there was something else we could have done to help you win your claim or appeal, so we ensure that we assist you in building your medical evidence and remind you to follow your doctors prescribed course of treatment. Additionally, we make every effort to ensure that all of your medical proof is filed prior to the hearing.
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Contact An Attorney For Help
Because the medical evidence and doctors’ opinions you provide to the SSA in support of your claim will be determinative in whether you win or lose your disability claim, you may want to contact a lawyer. An experienced disability attorney is trained to identify what type of information you need to win and will look over your case to determine what further evidence you need. Consult an experienced disability attorney in your area.