According to the United States Social Security Administration, a 20 year old worker—in any profession—has a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled by the time he or she reaches age 67. And, the likelihood of sustaining a permanent disability only grows over time. As of 2013, there were approximately 8.9 million disabled workers in America.
Disability may not be something you want to think about, especially if you and your spouse are currently a healthy part of your community’s workforce, but unexpected accidents and illnesses do happen. The SSA’s created the disability benefits program to provide financial support for those whose disability prevents them from working, and to support their families and dependents.
If you are looking to apply for disability benefits, there are two programs you need to consider:
- Social Security Disability Insurance program, and
- Supplemental Security Income
The Social Security Disability Insurance program ONLY provides financial benefits to people who cannot work at all due to their disability. This program does NOT provide aid for short-term or partial disability.
Supplemental Security Income provides financial benefits, food, shelter, and home energy assistance to people who have low income or few resources AND are, disabled, blind, or 65 years of age or older. Unlike the Social Security Disability Insurance program, the SSI program will provide aid to citizens with short-term or partial disabilities, or those are disabled but still work. If you have questions about which program you specifically qualify for, check out the Social Security Administration Website, or call this toll free number: 1-800-325-0778.
If you fit the criteria listed for the Social Security Disability Insurance program, you’ll need to fill out this Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits form (this one is specifically for California residents, but you can use PDFfiller’s dynamic search engine to find your state’s particular form). Make sure to apply for benefits as soon as you are disabled. The sooner you apply, the faster you will begin receiving your disability benefits.
Before you start filling out form (CA DE 2501) Claim for Disability Insurance Benefits, make sure you have the following items/information on hand:
(Don’t panic! This list looks long and complicated, but if you don’t have a few of the items, don’t worry. The nice people down at the Social Security office can help you gather it all. Just ask.)
- Your Social Security number
- Your birth certificate (or baptismal certificate)
- Names, addresses, & phone numbers of any doctors, caseworkers, hospitals or clinics that have taken care of you
- Note the dates of any visits to your doctors, any hospitals or clinics.
- The names & dosage of all medications you take
- Copies of medical records (including any lab test results) from your doctors, therapists, hospitals, clinics, and/or caseworkers.
- Summary of where you worked & what you did at your job
- A copy of your most recent W2. If you are self-employed you can use a copy of your most recent federal tax return.
- A checking or savings account (see note below)
Your next step is to call your local Social Security office and arrange an application interview. If you can’t find the local office number, call this toll free number 1-800-325-0778 and they’ll connect you. The meeting at the Social Security office should only take about an hour, and the face to face chat will help the Social Security administrators better understand your unique situation.
From the day the Social Security department decides you are disabled (the “onset” date), you’ll have to wait a mandatory 5 months before you receive your first disability payment. The amount of money you’ll get depends on the amount of income you earned at your job prior to becoming disabled.
It’s also important to note that since May 1, 2011, new policy states that anyone applying for disability benefits must have the funds deposited directly into a bank account, instead of mailed as a paper check. So before you apply, make sure you have a checking or savings account at your local bank. Whether you’re setting up a new bank account, or you already have one, just ask your bank teller for a direct deposit form. Direct deposit is almost always free, and this form will include all the information you’ll need to give to the Social Security Department (your account number, routing number, etc.)
PDFfiller makes it fast & easy to complete all your disability benefits paperwork safely online. From the secure editor page, type in all your information, add your signature, add a passport photo, make check marks, and much more. You can work on as many documents as you want and save them all, too. Even upload your own forms. Then email, print, share, fax, and more, right from your desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. And, just incase you have a question, our support team is ready 24/7 to promptly help you out. On a tight budget? We offer free PDFfiller subscriptions to veterans and job seekers. Just drop us a line or give us a call to get started.