Application Process

If you are interested in applying for Social Security Disability benefits, but don’t know where to begin, contact our office today and schedule a free consultation. You will meet with one of our experienced attorneys who will sit down with you and determine what benefits you may be eligible to receive.

There are two primary types of disability programs that you may qualify for:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD) Eligibility for this program is based upon your work history and what you have paid in to Social Security in wages. To be eligible for SSD, an individual has to have paid in 5 out of 10 years or 20 out of 40 quarters.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) SSI is a resource and asset based disability program. You do not need to have a work history in order to file for SSI. Amounts vary from state to state, but in Oregon in 2015, if there are no reductions, the monthly SSI benefit amount is $733.

A person may also be eligible for Disabled Widow’s Benefits or Adult Child Disability Benefits.

To get benefits from either disability programs, you must show that you are “disabled.” “Disabled” means that a physical and/or mental impairment or impairments keep you from working any regular, paying job. Your disability must have lasted or be expected to last for at least 12 months, or be expected to result in death. It is normally not enough to show that you cannot do your old job. You must show that you cannot do any kind of full-time work, taking into consideration your age, education and experience. Different rules apply if you are over 50 years of age. You cannot get benefits if you are able to work, even if no one will hire you.

Once you have met with one of our attorneys and have determined which disability program(s) you qualify for, we can advise or assist you with the application process.

The first step of the application process will be to complete a Disability Report – Adult (SSA-3368-BK). The Disability Report will include questions regarding your alleged disabilities, your work history and education, and your medical treatment.

In order to receive disability benefits, you must have medical evidence that shows you have some physical or mental impairment(s) that makes you unable to work. Medical evidence includes doctor or hospital reports, chart notes, tests results, and letters. The more medical evidence you have, the better chance you will have of winning benefits.

We will use the completed Disability Report – Adult to file your application for Social Security Disability benefits electronically. Once the Social Security Administration has the opportunity to process your application, your case file will be transferred to Disability Determination Services (DDS) located in Salem, Oregon.

DDS is the agency responsible for processing the medical portion of disability claims. This agency will request copies of your medical records, and they may send you forms to complete and/or send you to an evaluation with one of their doctors.

Once they have had a chance to review the medical evidence in your claim, they will issue their decision. It may take up to 4-6 months before they issue the decision.

If your application for Social Security Disability benefits is denied, you will be given 60 days to file an appeal. That appeal is called a Request for Reconsideration.