Applying for Disability Benefits

by Catherine Rein
(last updated April 24, 2009)

My uncle became disabled with multiple sclerosis at the age of 40 and was unable to continue to work at his job delivering freight. He was able to apply for disability benefits from the government. If you are suffering from a disability there are government programs available to help you.

Three of the government disability programs include Social Security Disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Military Disability benefits. Each government program is designed to meet the needs of a different disabled population. The steps to apply for Social Security disability benefits are as follows:

  1. Go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov website. This website gives more information on Social Security benefits and how to apply online. Social security is different from getting disability benefits from work or other agencies. You need to apply for those benefits separately from Social Security. Social Security has a strict definition of disability, you must be unable to do any substantial work because of your medical condition and your medical condition(s) must have lasted, or be expected to last, a least one year, or be expected to result in your death. There are several pieces of information needed, you should review the website to make sure all documents are ready before applying. A complete medical record will be required including the records from all the doctors and hospitals that took care of you.
  2. Fill out the Disability Report. This form is used to apply for Social Security disability benefits. You should list all physical and mental impairments that you have. Be sure to fill out the information clearly and as completely as possible. If your doctor's contact information is incomplete, the reviewer will be unable to find the information on your condition they need. Be honest on your level of education. If you have less education, you are more likely to qualify for disability benefits due to the difficulty in finding new sources of work.
  3. 3. File an Appeal Disability Report. This step is only if your disability claim is denied. This report will ask for updated information on your medical condition and new any treatment, tests or doctor visits completed since the initial disability benefits review.

Studies show that a 25-year-old worker has a 24% chance of experiencing a disability prior to age 65 that lasts three months or longer, so there is a high likelihood you might have to apply for disability benefits sometime during your life.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

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