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How do I apply for Social Security Disability benefits?

Having a disabling condition can affect your ability to live your normal life, including going to work. When the condition prevents you from working entirely, you may be interested in applying for Social Security Disability benefits. But before you do so, it is good to have a full understanding of the application process so you can step forward on the right foot.

Although you can apply for benefits either in person or via telephone, the Social Security Administration encourages all applicants to apply online. This includes filling out the Disability Benefit Application, the Adult Disability Report and the form for Authorization to Disclose Information, which needs to be printed off, completed and then sent to your area Social Security office via mail.

You will need to have certain information on hand when filling out the Adult Disability Report. For example, you may need to provide the name of a person who is able to relay information about your particular injury or illness with a representative from the Social Security Administration, along with that person's contact information.

In addition, you should provide a list of prescribed medicines you take along with the name of the physician who ordered them. Similarly, you should gather information, including treatment dates and names, of any medical professionals who have helped treat your illness or injury, along with the tests they performed. You may also need to provide information on all the jobs you have worked for the past 15 years. Having information on hand regarding marriage and divorce dates, federal income statements, the birthdates and names of your spouse and children under the age of 18 as well as bank account information can also be useful.

As this shows, applying for Social Security Disability benefits can be rather complex. While the above information is for general purposes only, it is important to remember that help is available for those who are trying to navigate the Social Security process. By working with professionals, you may be able to timely and accurately complete the application for Social Security Disability benefits.

Source: FindLaw, "How to File for Social Security Disability," accessed Sept. 8, 2014

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