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Applying for disability benefits

Someone who had previously been an employee might now have a disability that prevents him or her from working in the same or another capacity. Social Security Disability Insurance may provide income to people who find themselves in this situation. 

Prior to receiving disability benefits, a person must satisfy the Social Security Administration’s requirements for eligibility. He or she also needs to complete and submit an application. 

How long is the application process? 

A person can apply for disability benefits by making an appointment at the Social Security office or by speaking on the phone to someone at the office. The SSA, however, encourages people to fill out the online application. 

The application contains three sections. The first is the Disability Benefit Application and typically requires 10 to 30 minutes to complete. The next component is the Adult Disability Report, and a person might need 90 minutes to finish this section. The final portion is the Authorization to Disclose Information Form. After printing and signing it, an applicant should send this form to his or her local Social Security office. 

What documents and information does a person need? 

When applying for disability benefits, a person needs to provide the dates of any marriages or divorces in which he or she has taken part. If applicable, the person must list information regarding his or her military service for all periods of active duty. If the applicant has a spouse or minor children, then he or she must also provide the names of these people. 

If someone chooses to receive benefit checks in the form of direct deposits, the person needs to list his or her bank account and corresponding routing numbers. Finally, the applicant must supply federal income statements, such as a 1040 or W-2, from the previous year. 

After reviewing each claim, the SSA either approves or denies it. If a person receives a denial, he or she may file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision.