In order to begin the application process for Social Security disability benefits, it is important to know which program(s) you qualify for. Many do not realize there are two different Social Security disability programs: (1) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and (2) Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Although both programs have the same medical standards for proving disability, SSDI benefits include Medicare and have a maximum payout of $2,200 per month while SSI benefits include Medicaid and have a maximum payout of $750 per month for 2018. To determine your potential monthly benefits, you can visit www.mysocialsecurity.gov.

Once you know you which program(s) you qualify for, you can start the application process. The application process may be done online, at your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office or over the phone. The options do vary by program.

The online application can be found at https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability. On the application, you will have to provide personal information, educational information, specific information about your past work experience and very detailed information about your medical condition, impairments, treatments, doctors, facilities and medications.

During this initial phase, it is important to gather statements from any of your treating medical professionals and submit these to the Social Security Administration. Social Security will then send this information to Disability Determination Services (DDS) for review.

During this time, DDS may ask you for additional information or schedule a Consultative Examination or Mental Examination. Then DDS will make a determination as to your disability benefits.

Unfortunately, 80% of applicants are denied at this first level. Should you get denied, it is important to consider appealing through a Request for Reconsideration. You typically have sixty (60) days to appeal this decision unless you have good cause. Should you be denied without representation, you may wish to contact an attorney to help you build your case.