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Answers to common SSDI questions

If you cannot work because of a physical or mental disability and have decided to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you probably have a lot of questions about how the process works. Working with others who have been through the process can help ease some of these anxieties.

These are the answers to common questions people have when they apply for SSDI.

When should I apply?

If approved for benefits, you will not receive payments until the sixth full month after you stop working. For this reason, you should apply right away when your doctor says you can no longer work because of a debilitating illness or injury.

How do I apply?

You can complete an online application on the Social Security Administration website. You can also call the toll-free SSA application number. If you prefer to apply online, you can also call to make an appointment at your local SSA office.

Will I qualify?

The SSA looks at both your work history and medical history to determine whether you qualify for disability benefits. You must have enough work credits for eligibility depending on your age when you became disabled. You must also have medical documentation that illustrates an inability to work, both at your former position and at a different type of employment.

What happens after I apply?

The SSA may contact you to gather more information. You will receive the agency’s decision about your benefits by mail. In the meantime, you can check the status online or by calling the toll-free SSA line.

If you receive a denial, you can file an appeal. You must request a new review of your application within 60 days of the decision letter.