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Can applicants get help when applying for disability benefits?

Applying for Social Security Disability benefits for injury can be a difficult process to initiate. Even when individuals in Florida and other states recognize that they are suffering from a disability that is covered by SSD benefits and meets the SSA's definition of disability, their disability can make it challenging to get through the application process on their own. In these cases, having assistance can be essential.

Can SSD applicants receive help when applying for benefits? Simply put, yes, but applicants have to take certain steps and provide specific information when obtaining help during the application process. Those able to help an applicant include a friend, relative, attorney, paralegal, employer or even a member of an advocacy group or organization.

However, when filling out an application, applicants must provide information about the person providing assistance. This includes the relationship he or she has with the person applying, and if applicable, the organization he or she works for. It is important that those helping in the application process answer the questions as that person would answer them. This is essential if the applicant will be immediately available to sign the completed application on his or her own behalf.

While the person assisting an applicant does not need to be an appointed representative in order to provide help, if the person helping an applicant is an appointed representative, additional steps are required. If a person providing assistance is an authorized representative to do business with Social Security, he or she must submit the form titled Appointment of Representative.

If the person helping can sign the application on the applicant's behalf, he or she may do so electronically. However, if they are not able to, the SSA will mail them a application to sign and send. It is important to note that applicants receiving help will not sign their application. Those providing assistance will be the ones required to sign the application.

When you are suffering a disabling injury, it can be difficult or impossible to carry out some tasks. In these cases, it can be very beneficial to receive assistance during the application process for disability benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand your rights and options throughout the application process.

Source: SSA.gov, "Helping Someone Apply Online," accessed May 28, 2017

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