Social Security Disability (SSD or Title II) benefits are available to people who have enough work credits prior to becoming disabled. Supplemental Security Income (SSI or Title XVI) benefits are available to people who are disabled but who also meet the income and resource limits to qualify. Depending on your circumstance, you may qualify for one or both benefits.
The application process involves the filing of forms that provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with information about your work and medical history. It is important for applications to be accurate and complete so that a proper determination can be made on your claim. That’s why having the assistance of a qualified attorney can be an invaluable form of assistance for those pursuing disability benefits.
THE ONLINE APPLICATION PROCESS
A convenient option if you have access to the Internet is to begin the application process online. The SSA website allows you to start the disability application process by providing basic personal information. However, it is important to remember that medical records and other proof of eligibility status will need to be provided to and/or obtained by the SSA before an application is considered complete. Applying online is simply a convenient starting point for the entire process. The only place to file your application online is www.SSA.gov.
Let me offer a warning – there are many sites which appear official but are not associated with the Social Security Administration. These sites will have you believe you are submitting an application for disability benefits to SSA, but you are really giving your personal information to a third party who will then attempt to have you sign a contract with them to represent you. Please be sure that you know the difference and are making an informed choice. The only sites directly administered by the Social Security Administration are www.ssa.gov and www.socialsecurity.gov.
Please note that SSI or Title XVI applications are not accepted over the internet at this time, and you must make this application directly with your local office.
VISITING OR CALLING YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE TO APPLY
While applying online is convenient, another method to complete the entire application process is by visiting your local social security office. The closest social security office can be contacted by phone in order for an initial interview to be scheduled. In-person and phone interviews are available at many offices. You can find out your local SSA office and its contact information by using the SSA’s Find An Office Tool.
In-person interviews allow SSA employees to ask questions that help them determine whether an applicant is eligible for benefits. While an employee can identify basic qualification criteria (i.e., do you have enough work credits for SSD or meet the income/resource requirements for SSI), the ultimate decision related to your disability application is based upon a review of all evidence of your disability. You should note, however, that the employee taking your application will also make observations about your appearance, as well as your ability to answer questions and complete the interview. These observations will be made a part of the claim file.
Phone interviews also give SSA employees a chance to determine which forms an applicant will need to fill out in order for their application to be considered complete. These forms are then mailed to the applicant for completion. While this makes it easy for applicants to understand what forms are necessary, the forms themselves often seek important information in less than clear terms.
FORMS RELATED TO SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY
Here are some specific forms that must be filled out by every disability benefit applicant. These forms are used to evaluate the eligibility of each individual applicant.
Form SSA-3368-BK: Adult Disability Report – you provide all of the relevant information concerning your medical conditions, medical doctors and treatment, medications, how your daily activities are affected by your disability, your educational background, and other information.
Form SSA-3369-BK: Work History Report – you provide specific information on your jobs and what type of function was required of you in each job. This is used in determining what your past relevant work experience is, whether you can perform your past relevant work with your disability, and to determine what transferable skills, if any, you may have.
Form SSA-3373-BK: Adult Function Report – you provide specific information about how your medical condition affects your ability to perform tasks and function.
Form SSA-827-BK: Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration – you must sign and return this form so that SSA can obtain your medical records which are used to determine the extent of your disability.
Applying for SSD and/or SSI benefits can be done through the mail, online, or at a Social Security office. Forms that must be filled out during the application process should be current and complete in order for the SSA to consider approval. Help with this process can be obtained from an experienced SSD attorney.
CONTACT A LOUISIANA SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY FILING ATTORNEY
If you are considered filing for Social Security disability benefits, the assistance of a qualified legal professional can dramatically simplify the process and improve your chances of securing the benefits you need. Contact Louisiana attorney Loyd J. Bourgeois by calling 985-240-9773 today to learn more about what your legal rights and options may be and begin the application process.