Initial Disability Application

There are several different steps that your initial disability application will go through. It is important to be specific and completely fill out the application before it is submitted. The application forms will ask you to describe your disability (physical or mental), treatments you have received, medications you have or are currently taking, treating doctors and their contact information, as well as how your impairment(s) affect your ability to work. You will also be asked your marital status and if you have minor children living at home.

Once your application for disability benefits has been submitted, the application will be quickly reviewed to make sure it is complete, meets basic requirements and to look at any current work history. Your application will then be sent to the local Disability Determination Services (DDS) in your state.

The state office (or the office nearest you in your state, if you live in a large state) will assign a DDS examiner to your case. This person will use the medical information provided in your file to complete a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form and also to evaluate whether you meet disability criteria.

Once enough medical information has been gathered, the DDS will make an initial disability determination. Your case is returned to the SSA who will continue with the appropriate action. If you have been found to be disabled, then the SSA will calculate the benefit amount and pay benefits. If you are found not disabled, your file will be kept in the field office in case you decide to appeal your claim.