Close up of Social Security Disability Claim Form with writing hand

Understanding the SSDI Application Process

In order to get social security disability benefits, you need to register yourself, which requires completing the application process. However, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) application process can be overwhelming and confusing for many individuals. Understanding the steps involved and the documentation required is crucial for a successful claim.

In this article, we will break down the SSDI application process, including eligibility requirements, how to apply, and what to expect during the review process.

Whether you’re just beginning to explore the possibility of applying for social security disability benefits or are in the midst of the application process, this post will provide valuable information and resources to help you navigate the process with confidence.

What Is Social Security Disability Insurance? Understanding the Basics

Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI is a federal insurance program that provides financial assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a disability. The program is managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is funded by payroll taxes.

Under this program, you and certain family members can get the benefits, provided you are “insured.” It means you have worked long enough and paid the social security taxes on your earnings.

The Social Security Insurance (SSI) program pays benefits to children and adults that meet their guidelines (discussed below in this article) and qualify for a disability with limited resources and income.

The benefits offered by the SSI program can vary largely depending on the worker’s past earning capabilities.

Eligibility Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance

Before we explain the application process, it’s important to know if you are eligible for this program. According to SSA, an individual must fulfill the following requirements in order to qualify for benefits. These include:


A person must have a severe impairment that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability to be eligible for SSDI.

The Social Security Administration defines disability as the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity due to a mental or physical impairment that is expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

Work History

To receive disability income benefits, an individual must have worked and paid into the social security system for a certain period of time. This is known as a quarter of coverage. The number of quarters of coverage required depends on the individual’s age at the time they became disabled. Generally, the younger the individual, the fewer quarters of coverage they need.

Duration of Disability (at Least 5 Months)

Irrespective of the type of disability that qualifies for the SSDI program, the individual must have been disabled for at least five months before they can receive benefits. According to SSA, it helps ensure that the disability is not short-term, but rather a long-term or permanent condition that will prevent the individual from working for an extended period of time.

Medical Evidence

Another criterion all individuals must fulfill is providing medical evidence to support their claim of disability. Evidence may include medical records, lab test results, and reports from treating doctors.

The SSA will review this evidence to determine the nature and severity of the individual’s impairment and how it affects their ability to work.

Non-Medical Eligibility (Citizenship and Residency)

Lastly, all the applicants should meet non-medical eligibility requirements, such as citizenship and residency. In addition, SSDI benefits may also be affected by other sources of income, such as workers’ compensation or veterans’ benefits.

✍️ Note:

It’s important to keep in mind that meeting all the requirements does not guarantee an individual will be approved for SSDI benefits.

The SSA has a multi-step process for determining disability, and even if an individual meets all the requirements, their application may still be refused. If refused, the individual has the right to appeal the decision.

Did you file an application for SSDI benefits only to have it rejected? The Lobb Law Firm can help you file an appeal so that the SSA reconsiders your application. Our highly qualified social security disability lawyers can make sure you meet the eligibility criteria and have all the required documents to increase the chances of your application being approved.

Speak to one of our expert employment attorneys in the Detroit, MI area by calling 248-591-4090 for a free consultation, and we will help you file your application for reconsideration.

Preparing to File the Application for Social Security Disability Benefits

You can file your application for social security disability over the phone, online, or by visiting your county’s local social security office.

It’s essential to prepare as much as possible to have the best chance of your application getting approved in one go. To apply for social security disability benefits, you will need to gather certain information and documentation about your medical condition and work history. You’ll also be required to fill out a detailed Activities of Daily Living Questionnaire with questions pertaining to your disability.

You must provide the following things to the SSA authorities:

Social Security Number

You will need to provide your social security number when you apply for benefits, as it allows the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify your identity and connect your application to your earnings record.

Birth Certificate or Other Proof of Birth

A birth certificate or any valid proof of birth that shows your age and identity is required to process your application. You can use your passport to verify this information.

W-2 Forms or Self-Employment Records

The SSA evaluators use your past work history to decide the benefits you receive so you will need to provide information about your work history, including the names and addresses of your past employers and the dates you worked for them.

If you are self-employed, you will need to provide records of your self-employment income.

Medical Records

There are two ways to submit your medical reports with the application. Either you can attach documentation of your medical condition, including test results, reports, and treatment records, or you can request SSA to arrange a medical examination for you.

The authorities will examine your medical records to understand the severity of the disability and to establish its correlation with your ability to work.

Work-Related Documents

If you cannot continue working due to your medical condition, you might need to provide documentation of this. This can include letters from your employer or doctor explaining why you were unable to work.

All of these documents and information are essential for the SSA to process your application. Make sure the details you provide are genuine and authentic because the authorities will verify them before registering you for the insurance benefits.

Are you finding it difficult to gather these details and file an application? Contact one of the most successful SSI disability law firms to help you gather the relevant documents and prepare them for filing your application.

How Does the SSDI Process Work? Explained Step-by-Step

The process of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be a long and complicated journey, with several steps that must be taken in order to be considered for benefits.

Understanding how the process works can help prepare you for the road ahead and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Initial Application

You must complete and submit the SSDI benefits application online or at the local social security office. Make sure to provide all the needed documentation, including your medical records, work history, and pay stubs.

These documents will be used to support your claim for benefits and provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with a clear picture of your medical condition, work history, and financial situation.

The SSA might send you some additional forms to fill out after they receive your application. Complete the forms and send them back to the SSA as quickly as possible.

Your Claim Will Be Reviewed

Once you submit all the information asked of you by the Social Security Administration, your application is sent for review. This is the most crucial stage of the overall process, as the authorities ensure that you are a genuine candidate that fulfills the criteria required for the SSDI benefits.

You Will Receive the Decision

Depending on the number of applications the SSA is receiving, the decision might take more time than you expect. It is highly likely that your claim will be denied during the initial interview due to several reasons. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for supplemental security income benefits.

The SSA will send a denial letter to tell you the reason why your application did not make it through. The letter will tell you how long you have to file an appeal against the decision.

You Can File a Reconsideration or an Appeal

If your initial application is denied, you can request reconsideration within 60 days of the denial letter. Try to gather any additional documents or medical evidence that may support your claim, depending on the reason for the denial of your application.

With the help of a professional social security disability attorney, you can provide a detailed explanation of why you believe you are entitled to social security benefits.

Your Application Will Be Re-Reviewed

After you re-submit your application with all the missing or additional information, your application will be reviewed again. The SSA may send you for a consultative exam, where a disability examiner will determine whether the decision was correct or an error was made while reviewing your file initially.

It might take up to 2–4 months to receive the decision for the re-submission. You’ll receive a letter in the mail.

You Can Request a Hearing Before an Administrative Law Judge (If Your Application Gets Denied Again)

If your reconsideration request is denied, you can ask for a hearing with an administrative law judge. Prepare for the hearing by gathering any additional medical evidence and collecting statements or testimony. After your request, your application will be transferred to the administrative law judge’s office and you’ll receive the hearing details, such as the date, location, and the judge.

If you haven’t already hired experienced disability attorneys, it’s important to reach out to a disability law group at this point.

You might need to provide additional information as asked by SSA, so take help from your attorney to be sure everything is completed accurately and in a timely manner. With the help of a social security disability lawyer, you can submit a brief of additional requirements to the judge for review.

Prepare for the Hearing

Preparing for the hearing for your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) reconsideration is critical. You must gather all of the medical evidence that supports your claim, including test results, treatment records, and doctor’s notes.

You should also be prepared to explain how your disability affects your ability to work and why you believe that you are entitled to social security benefits.

It’s a good idea to review the initial determination made by the Social Security Administration and be ready to address any discrepancies or inaccuracies in your application.

Appeal to the Appeals Council

If the ALJ denies your request for reconsideration, you can appeal the decision to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Appeals Council. To do so, you will need to submit a request for review within 60 days of the date on the reconsideration denial notice.

When you file your request for review, you should include any new or additional evidence that supports your claim for benefits.

It’s also important to explain why you disagree with the reconsideration decision and how the evidence you’re submitting supports your position.

✍️ Note:

The Appeals Council review is not a hearing, it is a review of the record. The Council may either issue a decision or remand the case back to the hearing level.

Federal Court Review

If your claim still gets rejected after filing an appeal to the appeals council, you can file a lawsuit in federal court. In the lawsuit filing, you can explain why you think you should receive the SSDI benefits and how the disability is impacting your ability to work.

This is the final stage of the process, and the court may order the authorities to review your application again, considering the additional information provided by you.

As several authorities are now involved in the process, it may take more time to hear the judgment. Stay in touch with your attorney for any leads regarding your case.

Filing an application for SSDI and following up with the authorities can be complicated and taxing. With The Lobb Law Firm, you can rest assured that our professional attorneys will work diligently to increase your chances of being approved for SSD benefits.

We take care of everything from helping you gather the relevant information to submitting your application for re-review. You can even file a lawsuit in federal court with the help of our attorneys to ensure you get the benefits you deserve.

Call us at 844-LOBB-LAW for a free consultation. We can help you get the disability benefits you are entitled to receive.

How to Speed Up the Process of SSDI Application in Michigan

There are several stages involved throughout the application process, and it might take more time than expected. However, you can speed up the process of getting approved and start receiving the disability benefits you deserve sooner.

  • Ensure You Are Providing Correct Information

The biggest reason why most applications get rejected during the initial review is because of incorrect and inadequate details, such as not including medical records or documents that support past work history.

Most applications also don’t clearly explain how their disability affects their ability to work and why they believe that they are entitled to SSDI income benefits.

Make sure your application has all the information to meet the requirements of the Social Security Administration.

  • Consult With an Attorney

Another way to speed up the process is to consult with a disability attorney, who can help you navigate the application process, gather and present evidence, and prepare written briefs in a clear and concise manner.

Moreover, an attorney will help you understand what information the authorities need and can make sure your application has everything necessary to get accepted.

  • Complete the Application Process in a Timely Manner

After you submit your application, the Social Security Administration might reach out to you asking for more information. Try to respond promptly to any requests for additional information from the SSA and submit any requested documents as soon as you have them.

  • Check the Status of Your Application

It’s recommended to regularly check the status of your application by contacting the SSA or using the online account provided. If there are any issues causing a delay, it’s essential to address them at the earliest opportunity.

You can ask your attorney to help you with the issues in your application pointed out by SSA to avoid unnecessary delays.

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your SSDI Application

Understanding the requirements for receiving SSDI benefits is pretty complicated, as the SSA asks for numerous documents to determine whether you are an eligible candidate or not. Most applicants receive a denial during the initial review. The process can quickly become overwhelming if you need to resubmit your claim or file a lawsuit with the federal court.

However, with a professional lawyer assisting you throughout the process, you can easily clear many obstacles and increase your chances of being approved.

Here are some more reasons why appointing an SSI disability lawyer is important when applying for SSD benefits in Michigan.

  • Navigate Through the Complicated Process

A lawyer specializing in social security disability can help you navigate the complex application process, including understanding the eligibility requirements, deadlines, and necessary documentation. They can also help you with the appeals process if your application is denied.

  • Gather and Present Relevant Information

With the help of an attorney, you can gather and present the necessary medical evidence to support your claim, including test results, treatment records, and doctor’s notes.

Lawyers in Michigan will also help you prepare written briefs that clearly explain how your disability affects your ability to work and the reason why you are eligible for receiving SSDI benefits.

  • Increases the Chances of Approval

When you have a lawyer assisting you with the application, they can identify and address any discrepancies or inaccuracies in the initial determination made by the Social Security Administration. Lawyers handle such applications regularly, so they can easily point out any issues or that may arise during the application process.

  • They Represent You in Hearings

If the application enters the hearing phase of the process, you’ll get professional assistance from your lawyer. From preparing for the hearing to representing you in court, your attorneys are there for you.

  • They Save Time and Have the Required Legal Knowledge

Hiring a lawyer can save you significant time as they handle all the paperwork and communicate with the Social Security Administration on your behalf.

Furthermore, SSDI law firms have deep knowledge of the legal system and can help you understand your rights and the laws applying to your case.

Ready to File Your SSDI Application? Contact The Lobb Law Firm

Whether you want to submit your application for initial review or for reconsideration, lawyers at The Lobb Law Firm can help.

From the initial application to representing you at a disability hearing, our attorneys have the experience and expertise to make all the difference in your case. We will review all of your documents, advise you on the best way to proceed, and represent you at any hearings or appeals.

Furthermore, our lawyers honestly answer all your questions and are readily available to help. We understand how hard it is to live with a disability, and we want to help you get the security you need to live.

We don’t charge any fee until we win your case! To get started with a free consultation today, call us at 844-LOBB-LAW, or you can contact us online.