To commence the process of enrolling under Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, you have to first launch a claim by filling an application form. You can do this by walking into the social security local office or making a telephone call. The ideal method of starting a disability claim depends on personal preferences.
Some people find making a phone call to apply for social security disability a herculean task. Others feel that walking into the social security office is inconvenient as people sometimes have to wait in very long queues only to be sent away with an appointment to come back at a later date.
Applying via a phone call might seem better, especially if you call when social security office opens so as to avoid the usual telephone log jam. Besides, through the telephone, you can schedule a telephone interview rather than an in-person interview (that is if you prefer a phone interview over a one-on-one interview). Many people find the over-the-phone interview to be more convenient than going all the way to the social security office.
However, in case you are aware of the entire process and you do not want the help of a field representative through the entire application process, you can apply for the SSD benefits online; though this option is available for only those with a certain amount of work credits.
Disability Determination Process
Determinations of disability applications are usually not evaluated at the local social security office, though that is where the application processes are usually initiated. Joseph Dent, working under Kentons Law Office, gives a brief insight into the process, “The disability applications are transmitted to the state disability agencies where they are given to disability specialists or experts. The disability specialists are the ones who are first to make decisions in social security cases.”
It is not definite how long a particular social security disability benefits application may stay in the state disability agencies as it depends on many and varied factors. Joseph goes on to say, “It usually depends on how many cases the particular disability specialist has as well as the length of time it takes the specialist to gather pertinent medical information. Therefore, a claim may last in the state disability agency for as briefly as only one month or sometimes as long as a couple of months.” It is hard to tell how long a case may take to be determined. Therefore, be a little skeptical when the SS office promises that a determination can be made within three to four months.
Typically, when the disability specialist has all pertinent medical information about an SSD benefits applicant, a claim decision will follow shortly. Therefore, it mostly depends on how long the disability specialist will take to get your medical records: the sooner he or she gets them, the earlier your claim is processed. Patience is a virtue here.