Guide to Social Security Disability Forms
Filing for disability benefits can be a confusing and complex ordeal. The Social Security Administration offers numerous social security programs, many of which come with different application forms and filing procedures. So how do you know which forms you’re supposed to use? Should you submit them via mail, or online? Are there deadlines claimants need to follow? Read on to find out.
SSI vs. SSDI: Which Type of Benefits Should You Apply For?
It’s important to emphasize that social security disability, sometimes referred to as SSD, is actually divided into two separate programs. One, called SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance, is meant for people who have already earned enough “work credits” through employment over the years. The other, called SSI or Supplemental Security Income, is designed for low-income individuals who cannot work because they are disabled.
Within SSI and SSDI, the SSA also offers several specialized programs to help speed up processing for people with extremely serious conditions, such as CAL (Compassionate Allowances) and QDD (Quick Disability Determination). You do not need to file a separate or special claim for CAL or QDD consideration, but should use the normal filing procedures for SSI or SSDI — whichever you intend to apply for. The SSA uses special screening software to identify claims which are suitable CAL and QDD candidates.
While the programs may seem contradictory, some individuals choose to apply for both SSI and SSDI, which is called “concurrent benefits.” Once again, there is no separate form designed specifically for concurrent benefits claims. Simply submit your SSI and/or SSDI claim, and the SSA will do the rest of the work by examining your income, property, assets, and other financial resources.
SSI and SSDI are both federal programs. While each state has its own agency to facilitate claims processing — a dire necessity, since the SSA is overwhelmed by millions of disability applications each year — you will still follow and be evaluated under federal SSA guidelines. Residents of all 50 U.S. states use uniform SSA forms, even though those forms may then be processed by state-specific organizations.
What SSA Disability Forms Do I Need to Submit?
While SSI and SSDI share the same ultimate purpose — providing financial assistance to individuals with serious medical issues — their eligibility requirements are very different. As a result, there are different forms and filing procedures for SSI and SSDI. (In rare cases, the SSA may decide to grant concurrent benefits as noted above.)
Claimants may file for SSDI benefits online, on paper, or over the phone. To apply online, claimants should visit the SSA’s SSDI application portal. If you cannot finish filing in one sitting, you may save your claim and return to it later through the same portal. If you prefer, you can also call the SSA at (215) 701-6519 to set up a telephone application, or an appointment to apply in person at your local SSA field office. To apply on paper, use Form SSA-16-BK (Application for Disability Insurance Benefits). Once you finish, you can mail or bring the form to your nearest field office.
In contrast, claimants cannot file for SSI online. The SSA does not offer an online SSI application form. To apply for SSI benefits, you must arrange an appointment with your nearest SSA field office by calling the same (215) 701-6519 phone number. (You can drop in without making an appointment, but you may have to wait awhile before someone is available to see you.) To file for SSI on paper, mail or bring your completed Form SSA-8000-BK (Application for Supplemental Security Income) to your local SSA office.
There are no fixed deadlines for filing these forms. However, the SSA recommends applying as soon as possible in order to maximize potential benefits.
Depending on your particular circumstances, you may have to submit some additional forms beyond the application itself. For example, if your claim is denied and you wish to appeal the decision, you can either appeal online or use both of the following forms:
- Form SSA-3441 — Disability Report – Appeal
- Form SSA-827 — Authorization to Disclose Information to the Social Security Administration
Depending on which is applicable, you should also submit either:
- Form SSA-561 — Request for Reconsideration
- Form Form HA-501 — Request for Hearing by Administrative Law Judge
Reconsideration precedes the Administrative Law Judge or ALJ Hearing. However, if you live in Pennsylvania, you may skip Reconsideration and move straight to the ALJ Hearing. If you live in New Jersey, you must go through Reconsideration first.
Other forms you may need to submit include:
- HA-4633 — Claimant’s Work Background
- HA-4632 — Claimant’s Medications
- HA-4631 — Claimant’s Recent Medical Treatment
- CMS-L564 — Request for Employment Information
- SSA-4-BK — Application for Child’s Insurance Benefits
- SSA-5-BK — Application for Mother’s or Father’s Insurance Benefits
- SSA-21 — Supplement of Claim to Person Outside the United States
- SSA-3820-BK — Disability Report – Child
- SSA-521 — Request for Withdrawal of Application
The SSA will tell you if you need to file any additional forms beyond your initial application. For example, the SSA may need to follow up to get extra medical information.
If you need help applying for disability benefits or appealing an SSA denial in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, the experienced disability lawyers of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates may be able to help. To set up a free and confidential case evaluation, call our law offices today at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania.