How to Apply for Social Security Disability

Sometimes, an injury or accident can cause long term disability that will prevent an individual from working again. Such an event can change every facet of daily life, and a disabled individual may worry about financial security and their ability to obtain an income while unable to work.

The good news is there are resources available to people with disabilities to help them remain financially secure and build a fulfilling life. While the process to obtain these resources can be overwhelming, understanding the basics of Social Security Disability and retaining a Social Security Disability lawyer can help you receive the benefits you qualify for.

What is Social Security Disability?

The Social Security disability program is a federal program under the Social Security Administration that was created to provide assistance to people with disabilities. 

Social Security differs from workers’ compensation. While workers’ compensation covers temporary injuries and recoveries, the Social Security disability program is intended to provide support to people who have suffered disabilities or injuries that prevent them from working.

Type of Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability benefits can apply in a number of situations, and different benefits exist to best serve the needs of the individual. 

  • Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD or SSDI): This common benefit covers recently employed people who are now disabled.
  • Disabled Adult Child Benefits (DAC): This benefit goes toward disabled children and toward young adults between the ages of 18-22 who are unable to work. They may be eligible for benefits if their parents received Social Security retirement benefits or SSD or are deceased.
  • Disabled Widow or Widower (DWB): This benefit is available to widows or widowers over the age of 50 who develop disabilities within seven years of their spouse’s death.

Who Qualifies for Social Security Disability?

To qualify for SSD, an individual must have been employed for a period of time long enough to entitle them to benefits. An individual must also be unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or for the remainder of their life. 

How to Apply for SSD

Your first step is to  apply for Social Security disability in person, by phone, or online via the Social Security Administration website

Regardless of your method of application, the information you need to provide will be the same. The Adult Disability Checklist provides a comprehensive overview of the materials and records you will need to complete your application, including employment history, medical records and direct deposit information. These materials will be submitted along with a Disability Benefit application and a medical release form.

Next, The Social Security Administration will review your application, ensuring you meet the basic requirements for disability benefits and have worked enough years to qualify. 

Once processed, the application is forwarded to the Wisconsin Disability Determination Services office, who will complete the decision.

What to do if Your SSD Application is Denied

It is common for an initial application to be denied. If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision and have your case reviewed.

A Social Security Disability Lawyer Can Help

The process to apply for Social Security disability can be long and difficult, and many individuals who apply are often rejected or give up due to the intimidating process. The attorneys at Fitzgerald Law Firm have years of experience with the application and appeals processes and have the resources and industry insight to help you navigate the process and receive the benefits you deserve.


Written by
Fitzgerald Law Firm