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SSA touts advantages of online disability application

The Social Security Administration reports in a Webinar filmed in October 2010 that "Last year SSA received almost half a million more disability applications than [in] the previous year. 70 % of those applications were filed online."

Watch 'Webinar' for basics of online application

Click here to watch the Webinar; it's about 40 minutes long, covering these topics: The SSA encourages those with the following qualifications to apply:

Why apply online?

The SSA describes the ease of submitting an online application:
Applying online for disability benefits offers several advantages:
  • You can start your disability claim immediately. There is no need to wait for an appointment
  • You can apply from the convenience of your home, or on any computer; and
  • You can avoid trips to a Social Security office, saving you time and money.

What's needed to do the application?

To the question, "What information should I gather before I get started?" the SSA says:
For the Disability Benefit Application, you should have:
  • Your Social Security number;
  • Direct deposit numbers (from a check, or ask your financial institution for the numbers) to have your monthly benefits deposited automatically;
  • Your W-2 Form from last year or, if you were self-employed, your federal income tax return (IRS 1040 and Schedules C and SE);
  • An original or certified copy of your birth certificate and, if you were born in another country, we also need proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency;
  • Information about any workers’ compensation claim you have filed, including date of injury, claim number, and proof of any payments made to you; and
  • If you were in the military service, the original or certified copy of your military discharge papers (Form DD 214) for all periods of active duty.
For the Adult Disability Report, you should have:
  • The name, address, and phone number of someone who knows about your condition and can help with your claim;
  • Information about your illnesses, injuries, and conditions, including dates of treatment, and patient ID numbers; and the names, addresses, and phone numbers of the medical providers who treated you;
  • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them;
  • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who requested the tests;
  • Medical records that you already have; and
  • Types of jobs and dates you worked for your last five jobs.

Other frequently asked questions

Here's some other common questions and the answers from the SSA:

Do I have to finish all the questions in one session?

No. If you need more time, you can save the information you entered and then stop. We will give you separate numbers for the Disability Benefit Application and the Adult Disability Report that you can enter when you want to return to answer the rest of the questions.

What if I can’t answer everything?

Even if you are unable to answer all the questions on the Adult Disability Report, you may still submit it to us. We will help you get the missing information. However, make sure you complete the Disability Benefit Application and select the “Sign Now” button to submit it.

What happens next?

We will ask you to print and sign a medical release form that allows us to get information from your doctors. If you do not have a printer, we will send a medical release for you to sign. You also will print a cover sheet that you can use to send us the signed medical release and any medical records you already have in your possession. We will contact you if we need more information about your claim. Once we have all the information we need to make a decision about your disability claim, we will send you a letter.


The online forms are available to you seven days a week during the following hours (Eastern time):
Monday-Friday: 5 a.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday: 5 a.m. until 11 p.m. Sunday: 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. Holidays: 5 a.m. until 11 p.m.

How to get started

Follow these 4 easy steps to apply online

Step 1. Review the Adult Disability Checklist for details about what you will need before starting the online process. Step 2. Fill out the online Disability Benefit Application to provide us with information regarding eligibility for payment. Step 3. Fill out the online Adult Disability Report to provide us with medical and work history. Step 4. Fill out, sign and mail or take the Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration Get Adobe Reader to your local Social Security Office.