As you submit your SSDI or SSI claim, you will be guided step by step through the process by following the directions closely on the SSA website. We have provided a summarized version of what to expect and what information you will need to provide up front as you begin the application process.
Submitting an application (either online or by telephone) requires that you provide the following information:
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth (or baptismal) certificate
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of the doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that have taken care of you and dates of your visits
- Names and dosage of all the medications you take
- Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics and caseworkers that you already have in your possession
- Laboratory and test results
- A summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
- A copy of your most recent W-2 Form (Wage and Tax Statement) or, if you are self-employed, your federal tax return for the past year.
Besides this information, you will also need to fill out other forms including a medical condition form and a form that you gives medical personnel permission to send the SSA information about your specific medical condition. Please understand that if you cannot get all of this information on your own, you need to ask for help, either from an attorney or from the SSA when you apply. Below, we discuss some important things to remember as you prepare for the next step in your application process: the interview.
Once you have submitted your basic application, you will set up an interview time (either in person or over the telephone) where you will meet with a Social Security Administration Claims Representative (CR). DO NOT MISS THIS APPOINTMENT. Once you have set up this appointment it is vital that you follow through, even if you do not have all of the necessary information. The CR will help you gather the remaining information that you need to process your claim. If you miss, this appointment, however, you will run the risk of immediate denial. Typically, these interviews last at least an hour. The CR will ask you questions dealing with your medical and work history, information about your family, past military service (if applicable), etc. He or she is essentially trying to find out the facts of your claim.
Documents to bring
The SSA provides a checklist of items to bring to the interview. This includes:
- Medical records you already have (the SSA will help you acquire the rest)
- Any Workers’ Compensation information
- Names and dates of birth of your minor children and spouse
- Marital/divorce dates
- Checking/savings account number and routing number (for direct deposit)
- Emergency contact information
- Medical Release Form SSA-827 (if included)
Each state has several locations for local offices where you will be able to meet for your interview. In Utah, there are local SSA offices in Murray, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City, and St. George.
3.) Awaiting the Decision
Generally, it takes about 3 to 5 months to receive a decision. The amount of time you will need to wait to hear back from the SSA will vary depending on how prepared you are for your interview and how fast you can submit the necessary documentation needed to make the decision. While you wait, the SSA sends your information to the local SSA agency that has medical and vocational experts who will follow up on the contacts that you provided to verify the information and to learn more about your condition. In the process, you may be asked to fill out additional forms or provide information, for which the SSA will contact you.
Graphic courtesy of: The Social Security Administration