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Applying for Disability

You can apply from the comfort of your home or any Social Security office location most convenient to you. You do not need to drive to your local Social Security office or wait for an appointment with a Social Security Representative.  You can use the online application to apply for disability benefits if you:

  • Are age 18 or older

  • Are not currently receiving benefits on your own Social Security record

  • Are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death; and

  • Have not been denied disability benefits in the last 60 days. If your application was recently denied for medical reasons, the Internet Appeal is a starting point to request a review of the medical determination made.

How to Apply for Benefits Online:

  • Print and review the Adult Disability Checklist. It will help you gather the information you need to complete the application. You can find it at this link:

  • Complete the Disability Benefit Application found at the same link above

  • Complete the Medical Release Form

Information Needed to Apply for Benefits:

  • Information About You

    • Your date and place of birth and Social Security Number​

    • The name, Social Security number and date of birth or age of your current spouse and any former spouse. You should also know the dates and places of marriages and dates of divorce or death (if appropriate)

    • Names and dates of birth of your minor children

    • Your bank or other financial institution's Routing Transit Number and Account Number if you want benefits electronically deposited

  • Information About Your Medical Condition

    • Name, address, and phone number of someone that can be contacted who knows about your medical conditions and can help with the application​

    • Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries or conditions:

      • Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals, and clinics​

      • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them; and

      • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them.

  • Information About Your Work

    • The amount of money earned last year and this year​

    • The name and address of your employer(s) for this year and last year

    • A copy of your Social Security Statement

    • The beginning and ending dates of any active U.S. military service you had before 1968

    • A list of the jobs (up to 5) that you had in the 15 years before you became unable to work and the dates you worked at those jobs

    • Information about any workers' compensation, black lung, and/or similar benefits you filed, or intend to file for. These benefits can:

      • Be temporary or permanent in nature​

      • Include annuities and lump sum payments that you received in the past

      • Be paid by your employer or your employer's insurance carrier, private agencies, or Federal, State, or other government or public agencies; and

      • Be referred to as:

        • Worker's Compensation​

        • Black Lung Benefits

        • Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation

        • Civil Service (Disability) Retirement

        • Federal Employees' Retirement

        • Federal Employees' Compensation

        • State or local government disability insurance benefits, or

        • Disability benefits from the military (This includes military retirement pensions based on disability but not Veterans' Administration (VA) benefits.

Documents Needed

You should be prepared to provide documents that show you are eligible, such as:

  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the U.S. 

  • U.S. military discharge paper(s) if you had military service before 1968

  • W-2 form(s) and/or self-employment tax returns for last year

  • Medical evidence already in your position. This includes medical records, doctors' reports, and recent test results; and

  • Award letters, pay stubs, settlement agreement or other proof of any temporary or permanent worker's compensation-type benefits you received

Photocopies of W-2 forms, self-employment tax returns or medical documents are accepted, but you must use the original of most of your documents such as the birth certificate. They will be returned to you.

If you mail any documents, you must include the Social Security number so that it can be matched with the correct application. Do not write anything on the original documents. Please write the Social Security number on a separate sheet of paper and include it in the mailing envelope along with the documents.

If you do not want to mail these documents, you may bring them to a Social Security office. Do not mail foreign birth records or any documents from the Department of Homeland's Security (DHS), formerly the Immigration Naturalization Service (INS), especially those you are required to always keep with you. These documents are extremely difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to replace if lost. Some cannot be replaced. Instead, take them to a Social Security office where they can be examined and returned to you.

Once an application has been received, you will be provided a confirmation receipt of your application. Your application will be reviewed, and you may be contacted if more information or documentation is needed. You will also be informed if other family members may be able to receive benefits on your record, or if you may be able to receive benefits on another person's record, such as your spouse or your parent. Once your application has been processed, the decision will be mailed to you.

Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Applying for Disability:
  1. You must apply for disability after you stop working.

  2. You must have worked enough quarters.

  3. Your disability must last longer than 12 months.

  4. You cannot be working when you apply.

  5. The Social Security Doctor will probably not declare you disabled.

  6. You fail to file a timely appeal of denial.

  7. You fail to get medical treatment.

  8. You fail to have your own doctor's support.

  9. You fail to consult a specialist.

  10. You fail to consult a social security specialist.

If your online application or first application gets denied, you may need to see an attorney who specializes in Social Security law. You can also request an appeal online yourself as well. A reconsideration is a complete review of your claim by someone who did not take part in the first determination. Many of the above listed mistakes can be avoided if the claimant consults with an attorney who specializes in Social Security Disability Law in Alabama.

The Top Five Reasons Social Security Disability Benefits Get Denied, Include:
  1. Lack of hard medical evidence

  2. Prior denials

  3. Your income

  4. Failure to follow treatment plans

  5. Failure to cooperate

You may have to wait several months or even years to receive your benefits. But in most cases, it takes four to six months for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to process an SSDI application or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, if your initial claim is denied, it can take an extra 6-8 months on average to get a hearing as part of the appeals process. Even if you win your appeal, two years could have passed since your first submitted application.

There are no limits as to how many times you can apply for Social Security Disability; however, prior denials can have an impact on future approvals. If denied more than twice, it is strongly recommended to work with an attorney.

Disclaimer: At PAA, our desire is to be a GO TO Resource for everything you need for the Parkinson's diagnosis to live a quality life with PD. We want to make sure you have all resources you need as you plan your journey with Parkinson's now and into the future so that you can reflect and discern what decisions you want to make with the appropriate insights to help you choose and build a plan that is unique as your journey. The PAA, nor the contents on this website, should never be a replacement for professional expertise and guidance from medical, legal, or financial professionals. Our goal is to equip you for those conversations. As such, the PAA cannot be held accountable for your choices and outcomes while navigating your Parkinson's condition.


Alabama Social Security - Applying for Disability Benefits. 

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