The first step in the Social Security application process is determining whether you are eligible to apply for SSDI or SSI benefits based on the qualification criteria and strict definition of disability provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
You can submit your initial stage application for Social Security benefits to the SSA online, over the phone, or in person at your local SSA office.
Unfortunately, due to the tremendous volume of applications received by the SSA, denial rates at this stage of application are well over 60%.
It is therefore advisable to familiarize yourself with the entire application process, organize medical records and other paperwork, and possibly even contact an attorney or disability advocate before submitting your initial application.
In addition to its national headquarters in Woodlawn, Maryland, the Social Security Administration operates 10 regional offices overseeing 1300 field offices and 37 tele-service centers.
If you are denied Social Security benefits, it isn't the end of the line. The Social Security application process has several built-in levels of appeal, any of which can overturn the initial decision and give you the benefits to which you are entitled.