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How to Apply for Social Security
Disability Benefits by Telephone

   You can start your Social Security disability application by calling a toll-free number and giving the SSA operator some basic information about your case.  The toll free number to apply for benefits is 800-772-1213.

   Note that this phone number is the main number for all Social Security matters, so you should be prepared to wait.  You can call for yourself or for a friend or relative if that friend or relative is unable to call for himself.

Information You Will Need When You Apply
for Social Security Disability

   When you call, you will want to have the following information about yourself or about the person for whom you are calling near your phone:

  • Your full, legal name
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your date of birth
  • Your place of birth
  • Your marital status
  • The name, date of birth and age of the claimant’s spouse
  • The date of your marriage
  • The date you claim that you became disabled
  • Your last day of work

   Although  you can amend any of this information later on, it is best to be as accurate as you can at the outset.  For example, you should think carefully about the date you claim to have become disabled (also known as your onset date).

Allege the Earliest Onset Date Possible

   In general, you should allege an onset as early as possible since that will potentially maximize your past due benefit award.  Remember, however that Social Security disability is about work capacity.  If you allege an onset date months or years prior to the date you stopped working, you may not be found to be credible or truthful.

   As a general rule, your onset date should be around the date you stopped working.  If you got special considerations and extra help during your last few months of work, it is okay to allege an onset date two or three months prior to the date you stopped working.  Any more that two or three months will be difficult to prove.

   Some people make the mistake of alleging an onset date as the same day as their application for benefits.  Again, your onset date is the date that you became unable to engage in competitive work because of a significant medical or mental health condition.  At the very latest, your onset date should be the date you stopped working, although, as noted above, it may be appropriate to allege and onset date two to three months prior to the date you stopped working.

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