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Applying For Social Security Disability or SSI Benefits


You can file on line if you are seeking disability benefits based on your work record, commonly referred to as SSDIB. Another method you could use to apply for SSDIB is arranging a phone interview by calling the Social Security tele-communications center, 800-772-1213. Finally, you also have the option of filing in person by simply walking into your local office of SSA.

If filing by phone, a claims representative from the local field office will call you on a date certain, take your information and then correspond with you by mail, asking for signatures on necessary documents that are needed to process the claim. The final way is by having an attorney prepare your application. Having an attorney prepare and file your claim gives you some advantages in that most experienced attorneys know what Social Security is looking for, can avoid major mistakes that could follow the claim throughout the entire process.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefit (SSDIB), is based on your work record in terms of how much you’ve worked, how recently you’ve worked and what your annual income was, all of which will affect not only your eligibility but also the amount you will receive if your claim is approved.

Filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

If you have not worked for several years and you become seriously disabled, Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, may be available. But the big factor that you must keep in mind is that you have to meet the non-medical requirements, you have to be poor enough to be eligible. If you are on food stamps, receiving Medicaid, in a household with very limited income and suffering from a serious disease or condition affecting your everyday functioning, you would be a prime candidate to file for SSI. SSI can only be filed for in person at the local field office of Social Security located nearest your home address.

What Are The Potential Drawbacks Of Applying For SSDIB In Person?

One of the things folks don’t realize is that when you go in person to file and meet with a field office claims representative, a number of factors are recorded. How did you get to the field office? Did somebody bring you or were you able to drive? After you leave, the claims representative will prepare or summarize his or her observations during the interview. Generally, that interview is going to last about 45 minutes to an hour, and the observations made by that field office representative are documented. Those impressions follow the claim throughout the entire process. It is important to note that the initial claim will be decided by folks that will never see you in person. They will rely on what other people observe and report. At most, they will be a voice over the phone.

The agency that will make the initial decision will gather information, receive reports from doctors and hospitals, but never actually see you in person. There is no face-to-face interview. They rely instead on others. One of those people they rely on is that claims representative at the initial in person interview and the summary that person completes after you leave the claims office. That’s something that should be kept in mind. They note such factors as, did you have difficulty sitting, did you come in with a cane, were you using a walker, did you struggle to sign your name, did you have to run to the bathroom several times during the interview, were you nervous with interrupted speech, were you able to communicate and make yourself understood? These are some of the factors that are considered and recorded after the applicant leaves the Social Security field office.

What Are The Potential Drawbacks Of Applying For SSD Over The Phone?

The drawback is if you do have demonstrative evidence, meaning if I looked at you and could say, “Boy, this person is really disabled,” there is no way to record that during a phone interview. They do not see you; may be they can hear something in your voice, but from an observation standpoint, there is no way to record what that claims representative is actually observing. So the in-person interview is for someone who has obvious signs of limitations, physical and/or mental. Those kinds of applicants should file in person.

Is Applying Online A Better Method Compared To The Others?

No, it really doesn’t matter. Normally, whether you file in person or file online, the next agency that looks at the claim is the Disability Determination Service. Filing either by phone, online or in person really doesn’t make any difference and doesn’t affect the time for the claim to be processed.

For more information on Methods To Apply For SSD Benefits, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (248) 281-4247 today.

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