Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance: Where do I go and what do I need?

Filing for Social Security Disability Insurance: Where do I go and what do I need?

There are several avenues you can take to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You must present all required information with your information to establish eligibility for benefits.

Where do I go to file my SSDI application?

You can file your initial SSDI application online, via a toll-free phone number (1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing), or by visiting your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. The SSA recommends calling ahead to make an appointment if you wish to apply in person at an SSA office.

What do I need to file for SSDI?

In order to file an initial disability application, there are different pieces of information that applicants need to gather. Your initial application package should contain: 

  • Social Security number;
  • proof of age;
  • contact information for doctors, caseworkers, hospitals and other clinics;
  • names and dosages of medication;
  • medical records;
  • lab results;
  • a complete work history with job descriptions; and
  • recent W2s or tax returns.


Other information you might require during the application and/or interview process is workers’ compensation information, dates of any marriages or divorces, and any other information the SSA requests. You may have to fill out a medical release form (Form SSA-827, Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration). Additionally, if the applicant is filing a claim for a spouse or child, the Social Security number and proof of age for those individuals is required.

During the application process, the claimant, a helper or a personal representative can gather the necessary information. If someone helps the applicant with forms, he or she needs to supply contact information and indicate his or her relationship to the claimant. A personal representative is one step above a helper and will receive information and updates about the case. Personal representatives must submit form SSA-1696-UR (Appointment of Representative).

What happens after I file the application?

After completing the initial application, the claim goes to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for initial review. It can take months for DDS to make a determination, and many claims are denied at this stage. Denials may be related to whether you are disabled or whether you qualify under other program rules. SSDI requires you have a certain amount of work credits, for example.

After DDS’s determination, claimants may file a request for reconsideration. If  unsuccessful, the claimant may pursue an appeal with the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR).

Get Help from a Disability Attorney

Hiring a lawyer may be necessary for some applicants facing challenging applications or whose initial applications were denied already. Lawyers can assess the case and help the claimant collect the required information to establish disability and eligibility for SSDI benefits. Rob Levine & Associates helps clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut with their disability applications and appeals. Contact our office at 866-LAW-SSDI (529-7734).

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