How to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits

There are three ways to apply for Social Security disability benefits:

  • Option 1 - Apply Online

    You can apply for disability benefits online by visiting the Social Security website and completing a Social Security Disability application form:

    Apply Online

  • Option 2 - Apply in Person

    You can apply for disability benefits in person by contacting Social Security to set up an appointment to visit your local office to file your disability claim. Call the Social Security toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7am and 7pm, Monday through Friday to set up your appointment. Find the closest Social Security office to you, including their phone number and hours of operation:

    Find a Social Security Office

  • Option 3 - Apply over the Phone

    You can apply for disability benefits over the phone by setting up an appointment for someone to take your disability claim over the phone. To set up a phone appointment call the Social Security toll-free number:

    1-800-772-1213 or (TTY) 1-800-325-0778
    Monday through Friday from 7am to 7pm

What You Need to Apply

To successfully apply for Social Security disability benefits, you may be asked to provide the following information or documents. Please be sure to have these items ready when you apply:

  • Social Security number
  • Proof of age (Driver’s License, Passport, Birth Certificate)
  • Name, addresses, and phone number of doctors, caseworkers, hospitals, and clinics that took care of your, including the dates of your visits
  • Names and dosages of all medications you are taking
  • Medical records from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and caseworkers that you already have in your possession
  • Laboratory and test results
  • Summary of where you worked and the kind of work you did
  • Most recent W-2 Form, or if self-employed, a copy of your Federal Tax Return

In addition to providing information about yourself, you may also be asked to provide the following information about family members:

  • Social Security numbers and proof of age for each family member who may qualify for benefits
  • Proof of marriage if your spouse is applying for benefits, as well as dates of prior marriages (if applicable)

If you do not have all the documents or information requested above, do not delay in submitting your application for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will help you gather any missing documents or information you may need.

Application Process

It is important to note that applying for disability is a multi-stop process and may take between one to two hours to complete depending on your situation.

Once your Social Security Disability application has been submitted, your local Social Security office will do one of two things:

  1. Set up a time to conduct an application interview at the Social Security Office
  2. Set up a time to conduct a phone interview at a later date

Social Security Disability Interview

The Disability Claims Interview normally lasts about hour, provided you have prepared in advance by gathering your past work and medical history records. To better prepare you for the interview, the Social Security Administration will mail you a Disability Starter Kit to help you prepare for the claims interview. If you did not receive your Disability Starter Kit, you can download it here.