Applying for Disability

February 1, 2016

What is disability as defined by Social Security?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), “the definition of disability under Social Security is different than other programs. Social Security pays only for total disability. No benefits are payable for partial disability or for short-term disability.”

“Disability” under Social Security is based on your inability to work. Social Security considers you to be disabled under its rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before.
  • You cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s).
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

In some cases, Social Security will pay benefits if your disability was not permanent, but lasted 12 months or longer. Or, it may pay benefits if you are older and unable to do your past work, also considering factors such as your level of education and other work history.

How do you apply for disability?

A Social Security representative in the local field office can take your application for disability benefits in person, by telephone, by mail, or online. The application forms will ask you for a description of your disability, a list of your doctors and hospital stays, and other information that relates to your disability.

Your attorney can also take your application in his/her office and file the application for you.

Or your attorney can review the application prior to you submitting the application on the SSA website. Filing and submitting the application yourself eliminates the need for third-party processing at your local SSA office, which in some cases can result in a significant delay.

Most Social Security disability claims are initially processed through a network of local SSA field offices and state agencies (usually called Disability Determination Services).

Typically, it can take up to six months or more to get a decision on your initial application.

If DDS finds that you are disabled, SSA computes the benefit amount and begins paying benefits. If your claim is denied (and the majority of claims are denied) and SSA says you are not disabled, you have a right to appeal that decision and to be represented by an attorney.

Some people believe that you must be denied benefits before hiring an attorney, but this is not the case. We help many individuals file their initial claims. Oftentimes, the right description of your medical condition(s) and work history can make all the difference. Hire an experienced Chicago Social Security Disability attorney to provide the right guidance in your case.

If you have questions about your disability claim. Contact Nash Disability Law.