How to Apply for SSDI

Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits can be a taxing process, and managing a serious medical condition while navigating the SSDI system can compound your stress even further.  

If you’re starting your application, our attorney, Richard L. Cannon III, is here to support you. At Cannon Law Offices, PLLC, in Greenville, North Carolina, our firm serves clients throughout the Pitt County area, including Beaufort County, Craven County, Lenoir County, Martin County, and Greene County.

We understand the process involved with SSDI applications and are committed to guiding clients through every step of the way with integrity and compassion. 

At Cannon Law Offices, PLLC, we pride ourselves on our extensive experience and knowledge of disability law. We help clients understand their rights and options, providing clear guidance every step of the way. We’ve put together a detailed guide to help you approach the SSDI application process with the information needed to maximize your chances of obtaining benefits.  

Understanding Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) 

SSDI benefits offer financial support to those who cannot work due to a severe disability. These benefits, part of the Social Security program, help cover essential living expenses and medical costs. 

To be eligible for SSDI, applicants must have a substantial work history and have contributed to Social Security through payroll taxes. The benefits received depend on the individual's average lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. 

Unlike Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is based on financial need, SSDI is an entitlement program. This means benefits are earned through contributions to Social Security over time. Applicants must meet specific medical criteria and be classified as disabled according to the guidelines set by the Social Security Administration to qualify. 

The Application Process for Social Security Disability Insurance 

Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility  

To be eligible for SSDI, you must have worked in jobs covered by Social Security and have a medical condition that meets the SSA's definition of disability. Generally, this means your condition has prevented you from working for at least 12 months, or it is expected to prevent you from working for at least 12 months or result in death. 

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents and Information  

When applying for SSDI, you should gather as much documentation as possible, including:  

  • Proof of age  

  • Social Security number  

  • Detailed medical records  

  • A list of medications and treatments  

  • Lab and test results  

  • Summary of work history and W-2 forms or self-employment tax returns 

Having these documents at hand before starting your application can significantly streamline the process.  

Step 3: Submit Your Application  

The SSDI application can be submitted online, by phone, or in person at a Social Security office. We recommend reviewing all application sections thoroughly for completion and accuracy. Inaccuracies or missing information can delay the process.  

Step 4: Attend Required Medical Examinations  

You may be required to undergo additional medical examinations by doctors appointed by the Social Security Administration. These exams provide further evidence of your disability. We recommend attending all scheduled appointments and following through with prescribed treatments or evaluations to maintain your eligibility and maximize your chances of receiving benefits.  

Step 5: Understand the Decision Process  

After submitting your application, it will be reviewed by the Disability Determination Services in your state. This process can take several months. They may request additional information or clarification during this time, so we strongly advise staying attentive and responsive throughout the process.  

Step 6: If Denied, Consider an Appeal  

It's not uncommon for initial applications to be denied. However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the road. You do have the right to appeal the decision, and we stand ready to assist you in this process. The appeal must be filed within 60 days from the date of the denial notice, so prompt action is necessary.  

Checklist for a Smooth Application Process  

  • Confirm eligibility for SSDI.  

  • Compile all required documents and information.  

  • Submit the SSDI application using your preferred method.  

  • Attend all medical examinations as directed.  

  • Stay proactive and responsive throughout the review process.  

  • If necessary, prepare to file an appeal with our assistance.  

Key Deadlines  

  • SSDI application submission: as soon as possible after becoming disabled 

  • Appeal of a denied claim: within 60 days of receiving the denial notice 

Ready to Apply?

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Frequently Asked Questions about Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

How long does it take to get approved for SSDI?  

The time it takes to get approved for SSDI varies depending on the details of your case and the workload of the SSA office handling your application. On average, it can take 3 to 5 months to receive a decision. However, some cases may take longer.  

What if my SSDI application is denied? 

If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. The appeals process has four levels:  

  1. Reconsideration  

  1. Hearing by an administrative law judge  

  1. Review by the Appeals Council  

  1. Federal Court review  

It's important to note that you must request an appeal within 60 days of receiving the denial notice.  

What role does medical evidence play in the SSDI application process? 

Medical evidence supports your SSDI application by providing the SSA with an understanding of the severity of your condition and how it affects your ability to work. Comprehensive medical records, treatment histories, and statements from your treating physicians can significantly strengthen your case.  

Can I work while receiving SSDI?

Yes, the SSA allows individuals to work and still receive benefits under certain conditions. The SSA has programs such as the Trial Work Period (TWP), which permits beneficiaries to test their ability to work for at least nine months without losing benefits.  

We encourage you to contact us for more information or to discuss your specific situation. Our firm is ready to assist you with your SSDI application and answer any questions you may have.  

Reach Out for Support with Your SSDI Application

At Cannon Law Offices, PLLC, our compassionate approach means you can trust us to handle your case with care and precision. We can help prepare your application, gather necessary medical evidence, and represent you in the event of an appeal. Our goal is to protect your rights and maximize your chances of obtaining the benefits you deserve. If you're considering applying for SSDI or need assistance with an existing application or appeal, we encourage you to reach out for guidance and support. Together, we can tackle the SSDI process with confidence.