When you suffer from a disabling condition that prevents you from working and earning an income, you may be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This is a benefit paid to claimants who have worked enough years to qualify for compensation when they become disabled and are unable to work.

Applying for SSDI benefits is a lengthy process that involves several parties and extensive evidence. The following information can help you prepare for filing your claim for SSDI benefits.

What You Need to Gather to Begin Your SSDI Claim

Eligibility for SSDI benefits is based upon five things:

  • You have a medically diagnosed disabling condition.
  • You cannot perform the work you did previously.
  • You cannot perform any other type of work for which you are suited or qualified.
  • You worked enough years to qualify for SSDI benefits.
  • Your condition is severe enough that it has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or more or result in death.


To prove that you meet these qualifications, you will need to obtain documentation of your work history and medical history.

Your work history documentation can be obtained through tax returns, W-2 forms, personal work history records and your Social Security statement. To meet the eligibility requirements for SSDI benefits, you must have worked a certain number of years prior to becoming disabled. The requirement varies depending on your age at the time you file for benefits.

You will need to provide medical evidence that you have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability. Medical records, medication lists, laboratory and test results, doctors’ evaluations, and ongoing treatment plans are types of evidence the SSA may consider when making a decision on your disability claim.

Where You Need to Go to File Your SSDI Claim

The majority of the work to be done to file an SSDI claim is done on the Adult Disability Report. This 12-page form is available electronically on the SSA’s website and must be filled out completely before it can be submitted with your application for SSDI benefits.

Once you have filed your application, you may be asked to attend a consultative exam (CE). This is a medical evaluation typically performed by your primary physician (known as the treating source) in order to obtain more evidence about your impairment. In some situations, the SSA may require your CE be performed by another doctor, in which case you will need to attend an examination at their office.

Who You Will Work with When Filing Your SSDI Claim

If you require assistance filing your SSDI benefit application, you may have a friend, family member or caregiver assist you in completing the initial forms. You also may visit your local Social Security office to request assistance. If you would like a legal representative to handle your case, you should seek a Social Security disability attorney.

After submitting your claim, a representative from the SSA may contact you to request further information about your application. If you are working with an attorney, the representative will contact your attorney, who will handle the requests on your behalf.

An attorney who helps prepare and negotiate disability benefit claims is able to assist you with filing a complete and fully developed claim. Fully developed claims have a lower risk of being denied due to insufficient evidence, but that is not a guarantee that they will be approved. If your application is denied, your attorney will be able to assist you in the appeals process, which may involve a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.

Meet with Our Team Before You File Your SSDI Claim

The Social Security disability team at Markhoff & Mittman is here to help residents of New York City and the surrounding areas collect the SSDI benefits to which they are entitled. If you need help filing your claim or starting an appeal, contact our offices to schedule a free consultation – 866-205-2415 or (866) 205-2415.