If you are suffering from a long-term disability that keeps you from working, then you may be eligible for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. In order to apply for benefits, you need to file an application for SSD with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as soon as possible. Social Security Disability claims take a long time to process (three to five months), so it is important to do whatever you can to strengthen your claim and get it approved quickly.

To make the process go faster, you should have your personal information and medical records readily available. You will need medical records, names and dosages of medications, lab results, and your most recent W-2s to show when and where you worked before the injury occurred.

Once your application is processed by the SSA, a decision will be made regarding your claim. If you are awarded benefits, you should start receiving compensation immediately. If your claim is denied, you have the option to file an appeal. If you have been denied SSD benefits because you do not fit the criteria of a “disabled person” according to the SSA, then you can file your appeal online by filing a disability report. You should provide updated information regarding your condition including any new medical test results and doctor visits.

If your claim is still denied, you can appeal again to have a hearing in front of an administrative law judge. An attorney can help you prepare your case and ensure that you present your evidence in the best light.

Filing for Social Security Disability benefits is a complicated process, and many claims are denied. Make sure to file your claim in a timely fashion and provide as much information as possible to give yourself the best chance at recovering benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Disability Planner: How You Apply,” accessed on March 7, 2017